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Todd Dills

Speed limiters not ‘worth the hassle’: More voices on potential mandate

| August 29, 2014

Va.-based operator Joey Slaughter dug a little further into the background of what few studies exist that attempt to show whether or not speed limiter use has any effect on crash rates. The digging followed his input on the speed-limiter issue in Overdrive‘s last round-up of reader views on the subject of what is increasingly looking like an eventual mandate that could also include retrofitting older trucks, not just new trucks.

It’s no secret the American Trucking Associations is in favor of mandating the devices across the industry. While Slaughter’s piece on the Team Run Smart site is worth reading in total, here’s what he found from ATA’s own affiliated research organization, ATRI, and the Transportation Research Board with their looks at speed limiters: 

The studies were very thorough and concluded that there is reduction in speed-relevant crashes with trucks using speed limiters. However, I also learned some other interesting facts that ATA is not citing. [See full study at this link.] 
**Companies that DID NOT have speed limiters had an overall crash rate of 9.1 [per 100 trucks per year]
**Companies that DID have speed limiters had an overall crash rate of 11.2 [per 100 trucks per year]
**Speeding trucks are not a problem in the United States [emphasis Slaughter’s throughout]

Read more via this link, but suffice it to say that Slaughter’s takeaway from the studies is to more or less rule out the safety angle to explain ATA’s support of a speed-limiter mandate: “trade groups attempting to level the playing field,” as he wrote, and others have certainly echoed. (ATRI itself explained the difference in crash rates as not statistically significant.)

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A couple more voices came in over at the Overdrive’s Trucking Pro LinkedIn group following news that Ontario would hear an appeal of a challenge to that Canadian province’s own speed limiter mandate, and a lively discussion remains ongoing under this linked Voices round-up on the issue from two weeks back.  

Via LinkedIn
Michael Goodman: “This fiasco in Ontario has been a huge failure from the start. It was poorly thought out and has been a burden for both Canadian carriers as well as U.S. carriers who cross the northern border. I have a friend who used to cross the border. He had to reprogram his ECM every time he crossed the border. For he and many others it came to the point of simply not being worth it anymore. We used to service Canada. It isn’t worth the hassle. Some of the major ATA members have been pushing for speed limiters in the U.S. for several years. It hasn’t worked well in Canada and won’t do well in the U.S. … Forcing speed limiters will make roads less safe and be another unnecessary cost to the millions of truck owners in the United States. I hope the speed limiter law in Canada is thrown out.”

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Jim Stewart: “One of the most incredibly stupid ideas that government has mandated north of the border. Truckers here in the states had better wake up soon and band together to stop this dead before our lawmakers get a chance to agree on anything this foolish.”

Given FMCSA/NHTSA’s already got a speed-limiter rule on their timetable, however, that means they think those lawmakers aren’t necessary at this point for them to go forward. They could be persuaded via legislation from those lawmakers to halt work on it, all the same. Got a phone handy? 

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