Posted On March 14, 2011 In Personal Injury
On January 3 of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filed a Grant Decision on a previously filed petition to require heavy commercial vehicles to come with activated on-board electronic governors to limit the top speed of the vehicle.
The petition, originally filed in 2006, would limit the top end speed for vehicles equipped with it at 68 miles per hour. The new administration at Road Safe America filed the petition and expects the process to move along quickly now that NHTSA has acted.
“Road Safe America is very pleased that Administrators Strickland (NHTSA) and Ferro (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have decided to move this request forward,” said Steve Owings, Road Safe America President. “Although it has taken a long time, and this action does not end the discussion, a key role that safety advocates believe will save hundreds—maybe thousands—of American lives annually is closer to a reality.”
Road Safe America has been trying to reduce commercial truck accidents, whether through installing speed governors or limiting the amount of hours truck drivers can log in a week. Their mission is “to reduce collisions between heavy commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.” Road Safe America argues that the United States is the only developed country that does not already have heavy mandated speed limiters on large commercial trucks.
“The European Union Countries, Japan, Australia and the heavily populated provinces of Canada all have laws requiring that speed governors be set at a top speed ranging from 55 mph to 65 mph—their rate of truck crash related fatalities is lower than ours and we need to catch up,” Owens explained.
Manufacturers have installed speed governors in large commercial trucks since 1992, although they are not always activated. Road Safe America argues that when trucks travel at the posted speed limits, the drivers do not leave themselves enough time to correct mistakes and react in time.
Tom Hodgson, Executive Director of Road Safe America, argues that the governors will help the drivers and the trucks themselves. Traveling at the lower speeds will save the trucking companies money on gas, fuel, tires and other expenses.
“Rules that slow down the top speed of big rigs will certainly save lives. But the pay-by-the-mile formula of most in the industry is an incentive to drive fast and long. RSA thinks that the truckers deserve a professional’s wage for the hard and crucial job they do,” Hodgson said. “We want them to get paid for all their working hours, whether their truck is moving or not, so that safety is a primary concern for all.”