Should We Force Truckers to Obey
the Speed Limit?

By Tim Becker —

Maybe it’s because we’re late. Maybe it’s because we left the oven on. Maybe we’re simply impatient. Whatever the reason, some feel the ‘need to speed’ from time to time. It’s safe to say that truckers are no exemption from this temptation.

A study published by the American Transportation Research Institute and Arkansas University investigated the behavior of commercial truck drivers based on the speed limit. The study found that on rural highways with a uniform speed limit of 75 mph, the compliance rate for truckers was as high as 96 percent. However, on a rural interstate with a speed limit of 55 mph the observed compliance rate of truckers was zero (0) percent.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 23 percent of truck crashes can be attributed to speeding. So wouldn’t it make sense to more strictly regulate the speed of commercial trucks?

In 2014 the Department of Transportation introduced a bill that would mandate devices in commercial trucks that regulate top speed according to the speed limit. For nearly two years the bill has been hung up in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

What’s taking so long?

The trucking industry is lobbying against the bill. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is just one organization that has publicly condemned the mandate. Their argument against speed regulating devices states that by forcing truckers to obey the speed limit these devices will create a dangerous speed differential with regular cars.

“Each of us has seen too many close calls and actual crashes resulting from speed limited trucks not safely moving with the flow of traffic.  We do not want to see—or be involved in—the countless number of crashes that will occur once a speed limiter mandate is in place.”

Although the deadline for the publication of the speed limiter mandate rule has been continually pushed back, the Senate expects to see the bill in full before the summer of 2017. Even still, if the bill passes we’re not likely to see this rule take effect until early 2019.

In the meantime, you can stay safe doing a few simple things to protect yourself. Read this blog from us earlier this year for great tips –

Tim Becker, a truck crash attorney with Dollar Burns & Becker and victim advocate.