According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), speed limiters on commercial trucks should happen sooner rather than later. They are calling for the federal government to increase the pace when it comes to formally instituting the change.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first broached the subject over a decade ago. Numerous states took action, primarily in response to the reckless driving trends that were part of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A call for mandates
Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) encouraged comments on a proposal to require devices placing limits on top speeds in these large vehicles with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds. Specific top speeds will be determined at a later time.
The urgency comes from motor vehicle accidents in 2020 due to excessive speeds in close to 33 percent of all fatalities. Greater mass from the largest trucks loaded to capacity (10,001 to 26,000 pounds) and significant momentum requires longer stopping distances. When collisions occur, greater damage occurs.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes mandates on heavy-duty trucks. They claim that setting all trucks to one pre-established speed lower than smaller vehicles could create traffic bottlenecks. Plus, two trucks traveling side-by-side could force smaller cars to use the shoulder when passing, compromising safety and raising safety concerns.
The OOIDA Foundation cited research that interaction frequency involving other vehicles increases 227 percent when a large truck moves at ten mph less than the speed and flow of traffic. With speed limits of 80 miles per hour, trucks would have to travel up to 25 mph slower than the traffic flow.
Solutions abound when it comes to reducing road accidents throughout the United States. Reducing speed limits for one type of vehicle could put more drivers at risk of severe and potentially fatal crashes.