Speed Limiters- A Viable Solution or Dangerous Outcome

speed limiters

Not all too recently, there has been discussion up  in Washington in relation to trucking, (as always) but this time, part of that discussion was Speed Limiters on trucks.  Part of the reasoning behind wanting speed limiters installed on big trucks was, appropriately, about tire safety, and this was on the morning news with CBS.

And one of the ATA’s representatives brought this up, that by putting speed limiters on trucks, it would reduce the likelihood of tire failure, eliminating operating at speeds greater than what the manufacturer allows on their tires. (which, if you look at the manufacturers specs, most of their tires are rated for speeds no higher than 75 or 80 MPH.
Add to that, all manufacturers strongly recommend that drivers maintain their tires at appropriate pressures as well, because many of us know, that tires that are either over, or under inflated, can, and DO fail as a result.

The ATA representative also made known the fact, which many truckers already are aware of, that roughly 16 states in the central and western part of the US have raised their speed limits in excess of 80MPH, thereby bring into sharp focus that, yes, if you go by the tire manufacturers specifications, those speeds will increase the likelihood of tire failure on big rigs.

Now for the other side of the coin, is the obvious, at least to the driver in the trucking community, that if speed limiters are installed in trucks, to which 70 percent of the trucking industry already have their truck speed limited to 65 or 70 mph, then there will be an adverse affect between big trucks and other automobiles, that are NOT limited in their speeds.

So decreasing a trucks speed limit MIGHT be a good thing, but when you mix that with other vehicles that are not restricted, (with little enforcement out there as it is) then the equation could become quite deadly, and truck/car accidents could go right back up to pre-2002 levels, due to the way people tend to drive today, with more and more people pushing to beat a truck to an exit or entry area to major highways, or any number of reasons to cut off and take risks around tractor trailer rigs, with all the blame becoming focused back onto truckers in the event of an incident taking place.

So maybe it is about time that if the idea of speed limiters, for the specific reason of tire and driver safety, is to be pushed forward, then there should be ample enough reason to also push the feds and the states, to cut back and add more stringently enforce speed limits on the countries highways as well.  Several provinces in Canada already have set standards for trucks operating on their highways to not be able to operate in excess of 65 MPH, and the weigh stations have the ability, from what I understand, to plug into the systems on the truck to ensure that those standards are set and not violated, but,… they have not done anything yet, to force the rest of traffic to slow down and drive safely in those provinces as well, or the enforcement efforts are not strong enough to have an effect, thereby making highway safety in-effective.

So where else do you go, restrict truck speeds and leave the rest as they are, and risk seeing fatality accidents rise all over again, or force a ruling thru, to all states, that highway speeds will be no higher than “X” mph, and heavily enforce those limits again?

Hal Kiah

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Hal Kiah

Hal is a 20+ year OTR Veteran driver and a 12 year military police veteran. He has also served as a dispatcher and has been a trainer for new Over The Road Heavy Haul drivers. Hal has performed “FHWA” inspections (now called DOT Inspections) . He has been instrumental in the last few years, aiding and mentoring other drivers via social media and personal communications as founder of Truck Driving Career, on Facebook and has a passion and goal of seeing that drivers are respected and recognized for their efforts and sacrifices in the trucking industry, recognizing that trucking is a Lifestyle, and not just a job.