ATA renews call for reduced truck speeds
ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is renewing its call for federal action on requiring electronic speed limiters on all large trucks be set no higher than 65 miles per hour as a way to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.
Federal data show that driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit was the primary reason for 18 percent of all fatal crashes where a large truck was deemed at fault, the ATA said. A speed limiter rule won't prevent all of these crashes, but it will certainly help, the association added.
The ATA first petitioned the Department of Transportation in 2006 to set speed limiters on large trucks as part of its longstanding commitment to highway safety.
“We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said, “but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now.”
Thus the ATA is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to move ahead with this rule.
“In addition to slowing truck speeds, ATA believes in slowing down all traffic,” Mr. Graves said. “That's why we back a national speed limit for all vehicles of 65 mph and are disturbed by the recent trend of states raising their speed limits to 70, 75, 80 or in some areas even 85 miles per hour. These limits are reckless and are needlessly endangering millions of motorists.”
Nationally, speed is a cause or factor in nearly 30 percent of all fatal crashes.
“We limit the speeds of our trucks to 65 mph,” said ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C., “because it makes good safety sense, and as a bonus, it makes good economic sense.
“Our safety record is better because we limit speeds, we use less fuel because we limit speeds and we spend less on repairs and maintenance of our trucks because we limit our speeds.”
The ATA claims about 70 percent of trucking companies use electronic limiters, but “that is not enough,” Mr. Graves said.
“So we are again calling on NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind — who recently touted the benefits of speed limiters in the press, FMCSA General Counsel Scott Darling and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to move this important regulation forward.
“Further, I urge them to use their positions to push states to do the right thing — the safe thing — when it comes to speed limits for all vehicles and stem the dangerous tide of higher ones.”
Increased highway speed limits in several states also are being considered as a likely cause of the failure of several Michelin XZA tires on the steer axles of auto hauler trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a recently completed investigation.
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