Our nation’s economy relies on the trucking industry. We also know that commercial trucks can cause catastrophic accidents. How do we balance the two? We take precautions. We make sure the trucking fleet is safe, that the vehicles are in good working order. We train drivers and provide incentives that push for safe and efficient deliveries.
Even with these efforts in place there are some that think this is not enough and are pushing for additional change.
Federal government involvement
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is one such group. The agency has long supported the notion that the best way to reduce tragic trucking accidents is to better control the truck’s speed. One way to achieve this goal: speed limiters.
A speed limiter is a device placed within the engine. It uses a series of sensors to communicate information to the engine’s computer. It can have a predetermined top speed and, once activated, can keep the vehicle from going at or over that speed.
The FMCSA states that speed limiters will greatly reduce these tragic accidents. It supports this argument by pointing to data that connect speeding with trucking accidents, noting 20% of fatal trucking accidents happen when the speed is 70 to 85 miles per hour.
Lawmakers push back
Not everyone agrees. Rep. Josh Brecheen from Oklahoma introduced a law that would block these efforts. The proposal, known as the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, would stop the government from requiring trucking companies have a speed limiter within their trucks.
Those in favor of the DRIVE Act argue that having a vehicle unable to freely adjust to the flow of traffic is far more dangerous than traveling at the speeds noted above.
The bill is a proposal currently under committee review; the regulation is still under discussion. Neither have passed. We will provide updates as they become available. Regardless, the discussion serves as an important reminder of the ever-evolving landscape of regulations that impact the trucking industry. Trucking companies can help to protect their reputation and business interests by staying up to date on these discussions and making changes as necessary.