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Trucking Alliance Endorses Legislation to Limit Large Commercial Truck Speeds on US Highways

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (Trucking Alliance), the industry-based safety coalition, will support legislation by US Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and US Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), to limit the maximum speed of tractor trailers on the nation’s highways.

The “Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019” (S.2033) will direct the Secretary of Transportation to create a federal safety standard that requires all large commercial trucks to not exceed 65 miles per hour on the nation’s highways.

“The Trucking Alliance mission is to reduce and eventually eliminate all large truck fatalities and truck speed limiters are integral to achieving that objective,” said Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, co-founder and president of the Trucking Alliance and also a former chairman of the American Trucking Associations. “Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator Chris Coons should be applauded for making highway safety a bipartisan issue.”

“My late father and grandfather drove trucks for a living,” added Williams. “I’ve spent my entire career in the trucking industry. There’s simply no legitimate reason for an 80-foot tractor trailer to be driven within a few feet of other motorists, at speeds of 70 or 75 or 80 miles per hour. The safety benefits of Senate Bill 2033 are obvious.”

“Dupré Logistics has utilized speed limiters to improve safety and fuel efficiencies for several years. Senate Bill 2033 will help ensure that all our industry’s carriers do the same and make America’s highways safer for everybody,” said Reggie Dupré, CEO of Dupré Logistics in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“Cargo Transporters has utilized electronic truck speed limiters since 1990, and believe this technology is a critical ingredient in building a pro-safety culture among our truck drivers,” said John Pope, Chairman of Cargo Transporters in Claremont, North Carolina.

“Most fleets now utilize speed limiters to improve safety and fuel efficiencies and this legislation will help ensure that all our industry’s carriers do the same,” said Wilson Risinger, Vice President of Safety & Security at KLLM Transport Services in Jackson, Mississippi.

“Speed is a major contributing factor in the severity of highway accidents, whether in a car or large truck. However, when speed is combined with the weight of a large truck in an accident, the severity of injuries multiplies. We feel limiting large trucks to a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour is an important safeguard, regardless of the speed limit for other motorists,” said Dean Newell, Vice President of Driver Safety & Security at Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Improved highway safety requires several components, and this legislation is a critical step to achieve the Trucking Alliance mission to make highways safer for both truck drivers and motorists,” said David Daniels, president of May Trucking Company in Brooks, Oregon.

“If carriers utilize the speed limiting technology that is readily available on virtually all commercial trucks, our industry can reduce the frequency and severity of large truck accidents,” said Eric Fuller, Chairman and CEO of US Xpress in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

What Will S.2033 Do?

In a joint statement by Senators Isakson and Coons, S.2033 will require a new federal motor carrier safety regulation. This safety standard will require that all large commercial trucks be equipped with speed limiting technology, that is set at a maximum speed not to exceed 65 mph on the nation’s highways.

Owners of older trucks without speed limiting technology will not be forced to retroactively install speed limiters. They will, however, be required to comply with the safety standard, or be issued a federal safety violation, rather than a state issued speeding ticket.

Senators Isakson and Coons further say in the statement that “…the rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes a year involving vehicles with a weight of 26,000 pounds or more, on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more.”

Additional Benefits of S. 2033

Truck drivers cannot be coerced to operate trucks at unsafe speeds in order to make deliveries.

  • According to a 2016 joint rule making by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “A working speed limiting device will make it more difficult for a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary to coerce a driver to exceed highway speed limits in violation of the regulatory requirements of 49 CFR 392.2 and 392.6.”

 Truck speed limiters save fuel.

  • In the same notice of proposed rule making, NHTSA and FMCSA stated, “we project that this joint rule making would result in fuel savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions totaling $848 million annually, assuming a 7 percent discount for fuel and a 3 percent discount rate for GHG, for 60 mph and 65 mph speed limiter ”

 A slower speed limit for trucks than the speed limit for cars, known as a differential speed limit, does not compromise safety.

  • On rural federal interstate highways, 10 states currently restrict large trucks to a maximum speed of 65 mph or lower, while cars are permitted to drive faster.
  • In 33 countries that comprise the European Union, the average maximum speed limit for large trucks is 50 mph, while the speed limit for cars is 70 mph, a speed differential of 20 mph, again with no reported safety issues.
  • The National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board concluded in 1994, that, “[no] conclusive evidence could be found to support or reject the use of a differential speed limit for passenger cars and heavy trucks” and “a strong case cannot be made on empirical grounds in support of or in opposition to differential speed limits”
  • The Federal Highway Administration reported in 2004, that “no consistent safety effects of a differential speed limit, as opposed to uniform speed limits, were observed within the scope of the study.”

Truck speed limiters will save lives.

  • FMCSA reported that beginning on January 1, 2004 and ending on December 31, 2013, 10,440 people were killed in motor vehicles in which the speed of a commercial motor vehicle in the accident likely contributed to

Trucks Without Speed Limiters Engaged are More Likely to Have an Accident

  • A 2012 study commissioned by the FMCSA concluded that trucks not using a speed-limiting technology had a speed limit-relevant crash rate almost 2 times higher than the rate of trucks using a speed limiter technology.

Most states currently restrict large trucks to 65 mph on state-controlled highways.

  • On state controlled four lane and divided highways, 40 states already restrict large trucks to 65 mph speed limit, or even lower. On rural two-lane highways, 41 states already restrict large trucks to a speed of 65 mph or lower.

End of Release