Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
Recently, I attended the CCJ (Commercial Carrier Journal) Fall Symposium and had the privilege to listen to a myriad of speakers from inside of our industry and from other business sectors. I listened very closely to all the discussion, but especially to the rationale for the proposal for mandatory speed limiters.
Bill Quade, associate administrator for Enforcement and Program Delivery with the FMCSA wasn’t able to give any logical reasoning for the mandatory speed limiter proposal. He admitted that there wasn’t a problem with speeding trucks on interstates, but speeding trucks on state and secondary roads were a problem. Speed limiters would not be a factor in these crashes anyway since state and secondary road speed limits are slower than on the interstates. When questioned about the effects of unintended consequences such as creating rolling roadblocks and increasing truck traffic density, he basically looked at the crowd with an “I don’t know what to tell you” look. In other words, deal with it.
Lane Kidd, managing director, Alliance for Drivers’ Safety & Security spoke on his organizations support for mandatory speed limiters as well. The following is taken directly from his organization’s website:
The Trucking Alliance supports a federal requirement to install speed limiters (or “governors”) on all interstate commercial trucks, with the maximum allowable speed limit set below 70 mph. Speeding is one of the primary factors in causing motor vehicle crashes. The “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” reported that 22.9 percent of all large truck crashes resulted from truck drivers traveling too fast for conditions. Speeding behavior increases both the probability of being involved in a crash, the severity of the crash, and the likelihood of injuries in a crash.
There isn’t any proof that the 22.9 percent of crashes he cites could be prevented by speed limiters. The study simply states that the affected drivers were traveling too fast for conditions. If you are traveling at 45 mph on a snow covered road and the safe speed is 25 mph, then that crash would go into that category. A speed limiter wouldn’t make a difference in this situation. Remember, Mr. Quade had already stated that the interstates (with the highest speed limits) weren’t the problem.
Mr. Kidd also stated that there was a study by some “organization” in Arkansas. After the speed limit was raised from 65 mph to 70 mph in Arkansas, the participants in this “organization” drove 70 mph from Little Rock to Fort Smith on I-40 and were passed by over 75% of the trucks along the way. When asked to cite this study, Mr. Kidd said that it was an unpublished study and that he couldn’t provide any more information. From my 23 years of experience, I didn’t believe his claim for one minute and wasn’t surprised that he couldn’t support it.
I am very concerned with safety, but cannot find any benefit in safety for mandating speed limiters. On the contrary, I believe that interstates will become less safe as a result of all trucks driving in large convoys and creating rolling roadblocks and dense traffic conditions. With this knowledge, I can only surmise that the American Trucking Association and its supporting organizations are in favor of this mass overreach for reasons other than safety.