May 10, 2022

Should Commercial Trucks Have Speed Limiters?
Should Commercial Trucks Have Speed Limiters?
Commercial vehicles to be mandated by speed limiters.

Will FMCSA Implement Speed Limiter Mandate on Commercial Trucks?

Speed governs just about every daily activity, and we are constantly being told not to eat too fast, or you’ll choke, don’t run too fast, or you’ll fall, and don’t drive too fast, or you’ll have an accident. When it comes to driving speed, the struggle to find balance on roads and highways continues to wage. The FMCSA has identified a solution to impose a speed limiter mandate to potentially lower speed-related crashes. This proposal has already raised controversy, and the public is not sure whether these speed limiters are a good idea.

Speed Limiters on Commercial Trucks: A Pro?

The move for speed limiters on commercial trucks was influenced by the National Road Safety Strategy released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), naming speed a large contributor to road deaths. This mandate was initially proposed in 2016 and would move to add electronic engine control units on commercial vehicles over a certain weight, limiting the vehicle to specific speeds. The exact rates are still being determined but suggested limiters are between 60-68mphs. The U.S. DOT reported an estimated 10,490 speed-related fatalities in 2020, an 11 percent increase from 2019. The mandate would limit vehicles deemed most dangerous in high-speed situations, those more prominent in size and weight. Oversized commercial vehicles carrying heavy loads have a more significant stopping window than smaller vehicles driving at high speeds. Other factors impact stopping power, and following proper safety procedures for truck drivers will also help avoid accidents. Having trucks driving at deescalated speeds is an attempt to lower not only the number of crashes but also the fatality and damage levels.

Speed Limiters on Commercial Trucks: A Con?

Limiting speeds for commercial vehicles is an attempt to lower speed-related accidents, but will it bring more problems than solutions? Many highways, especially those traveled on by large commercial vehicles, can have higher speed limits that are 15-20mph faster than the speed limiters would allow. Having a significantly slower-moving vehicle can pose a problem in areas where speed limits are increased and can slow traffic or cause an accident. There may not be enough stopping time between vehicles if one is traveling significantly slower in a distracted driver case. Another difficulty the speed limiters would bring about for truckers is the ability to merge on highways. Attempting to merge into traffic that is traveling much faster than your vehicle will even allow is difficult and dangerous for oncoming traffic.

YOU Decide if Commercial Trucks Should Have Speed Limiters

The pros and cons of a mandated speed limiter seem never-ending, with the goal always being to increase road safety. The correct means of achieving this goal are still up for discussion, and the FMCSA is now accepting comments from the public until June 3rd, 2022. Truck drivers can share concerns or praises regarding the speed limiter mandate in hopes of influencing the decision.

Speed limiters on commercial vehicles are being proposed to increase road safety and lower speed-related fatalities. Whether these limiters are the right step or not can’t be agreed on, and the pros and cons stay balanced. Speed limiters may be a good idea in specific cases, such as traveling the world’s most dangerous roads but finding a balance on regular highways to satisfy both rule makers and drivers is proving more difficult.