Once again, FMCSA has a solution searching for a problem. Their quest to limit the speed on all trucks doesn't even begin to make sense when crash data is examined from the large fleets. I can only deduct that they are bowing to pressure from the ATA (American Trucking Association).
This past week, I spent all of my time in a 65 mph governed truck as I was staging equipment for the Mid America Truck Show. My usual truck will go as fast as any, but I usually keep it around 62 mph for fuel mileage reasons. However, I had a fleet spec'd truck and I drove it just like everyone else; maxed out at 65, but only when the speed limit allowed it of course.
Here are my observations while operating at 65 mph (most of this was in a 70 mph zone)
- Only a slight difference in governed speeds; most around 65 and the rest were just a tad below
- This led to 65 mph trucks passing the 64 mph trucks
- This led to long lines in the left lane as these "passes" took several minute and miles
- This led to road rage for many of the "four wheelers" who were held up in the line of traffic
- This led to cars passing on the right and darting in front of the passing truck with inches to spare
Other points to consider:
- Getting over for merging traffic entering the interstate means getting in the left lane and starting the drama over again. So, trucks are less likely to get over for cars if it means being stuck in left lane and going through the above steps again.
- Sure, a 64 mph truck could slow down and let the 65 mph truck get by, but why would he? He's doing nothing wrong and if he keeps letting that happen, the 64 mph truck will eventually get boxed in.
- These speed limiters keep trucks almost in a line, creating somewhat of a convoy that really becomes dangerous to the motoring public as they try to enter and exit the interstate.
- Don't make governed trucks mandatory
- Speeding trucks aren't a problem
- Let police enforce speed limits
- Speed Limiters are being pushed by lobbying organizations to level playing field; not about safety
Interesting Data from OOIDA:
- A sample of the larger carriers showed that Speed Limited carriers had more crashes per power unit and per driver than the non-speed limited carriers.
- The data tells us that speed limiters do nothing to significantly reduce crashes
A Final Word:
I don't believe a new study is needed to make the right decision. However, if I can't convince the FMCSA to drop their plans to pursue this harmful regulation, I would request a study on the effects and unintended consequences of all trucks driving at the same speed.
Thanks to Jim Allen at TruckStockImages.com for the use of the photo.