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Trucking groups cite Ontario speed limiter success in bid for U.S. mandate – Truck News

Several trucking associations are voicing their support for a proposed truck speed limiter mandate in the U.S. as legislators attempt to block such rules.

They’re even using Ontario data to help make their point.

Research cited by the trucking groups includes 2018 Ontario Ministry of Transportation data that shows the number of truck drivers found at fault for speeding in a collision dropped 72.7% after that province mandated speed limiters. As well, there was no change in the share of large trucks struck from behind. The findings were limited to highways with posted 100 km/h speed limits, and researchers also noted several large fleets were already limiting speeds before the mandate was introduced.

Most trucks operating in Ontario and Quebec have had to mechanically govern speeds at 105 km/h since 2009, and similar legislation has been proposed in B.C.

truck speed
(Photo: istock)

Fighting the DRIVE Act

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed its speed limiter rule in April 2022. But efforts in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are looking to derail such plans. The related Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act was introduced earlier this month in the Senate.

The Truck Safety Coalition, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Trucking Alliance, Road Safe America, and National Safety Council issued a statement that they are “steadfastly opposed” to the DRIVE Act, arguing that the legislation would keep the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from fulfilling its mission to reduce crashes.

Other groups including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Montana Trucking Association, Western State Trucking Association, and National Association of Small Trucking Companies have supported the DRIVE Act.

“About 98% of the 62,000 trucks operated by Trucking Alliance carriers already use speed limiters, because it’s safe for our drivers,” said Steve Williams, CEO of Maverick USA and president of The Trucking Alliance. “The science is clear. It takes an 80,000-pound tractor trailer rig much farther to stop when going 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) than it does at 65 or 70 miles per hour (105 or 113 km/h). Everybody needs to slow down and allowing FMCSA to pursue its rulemaking is the right thing to do.”

Deaths linked to truck crashes have increased 71% since 2009, the pro-mandate groups note, adding that speeding continues to be a contributing factor. Citing U.S. Department of Transportation data, they add that 20% of fatal truck crashes occur above 70 mph (113 km/h).

The number of fatal crashes where speeding is identified as a driver-related factor has increased 50% since 2009, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

‘Serious safety concerns’

“Speed kills. Thousands of lives have been lost due to speeding semis, and I urge all members of Congress to reject the DRIVE Act that will enable this tragic loss of life to continue,” said Pam Biddle, a member of the Truck Safety Coalition and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways board.

“This legislation [DRIVE Act] poses some serious safety concerns,” said National Safety Council vice-president – government affairs.

 “I have used speed limiters, and it kept me at the speed limit when it would have been easy to exceed. Excessive speeding reduces the amount of time the driver has to react in a dangerous situation in order to avoid a crash, increases vehicle stopping distance, as well as reduces the ability of road safety structures, such as guardrails, impact attenuators, crash cushions, median dividers and concrete barriers, to mitigate the impact of a crash. The use of speed limiters is one way to help decrease these dangerous situations to keep all road users safer; we should encourage their use.”

“It is absurd that the United States still lags behind the majority of the civilized world in not requiring the use of built-in speed limiters in the heaviest vehicles,” added Steve Owings, co-founder of Road Safe America.

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