Readers say no to speed governing, less equivocal on a national speed limit

| August 18, 2014

Overdrive shared the above ATA graphic on August 6 on its Facebook page. ATA had published it with this note: "A reminder: On our highways, speed kills. That's why ATA is pushing for a national speed limit of 65 mph and for all trucks to be electronically governed to prevent speeding." The speed limiter rule that FMCSA is pursuing made news recently for an acceleration in the timetable for its release, estimated currently for later this year.

Overdrive shared the above ATA graphic on August 6 on its Facebook page. ATA had published it with this note: “A reminder: On our highways, speed kills. That’s why ATA is pushing for a national speed limit of 65 mph and for all trucks to be electronically governed to prevent speeding.” The speed limiter rule that FMCSA is pursuing made news recently for an acceleration in the timetable for its release, estimated currently for later this year.

Several weeks back, following the American Trucking Associations’ sharing of the image at right via its Facebook page, Overdrive asked the above poll question to its readers. As results show, very little support exists among owner-operators for mandatory speed governing/limiting of trucks, but a return to a national approach to maximum speed garners a measure of support.

The American Trucking Associations’ support of a speed limiters (or governors) mandate for all new heavy-duty Class 8 trucks goes back many years now to Road Safe America founder and current Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee Chairman Stephen Owings’ 2006 petition, mirrored by ATA’s own, to NHTSA to limit new-truck speeds to 68 miles per hour. In years since, there has been more than a little talk of the rule potentially requiring retrofit of many existing vehicles with speed governors as well — Road Safe America and ATA both now advocate all 1992 and later Class 7 and 8 trucks be required to govern speed at 65 mph, and the Associations likewise support a national 65-mph speed limit — for all vehicles. 

Reporting within the last year has cited NHTSA officials as saying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was brought into the speed limiter rulemaking process in order that older vehicles could be included in the rulemaking on a mandate for limited speed.

Owner-operator Joey Slaughter, commenting via the Overdrive’s Trucking Pro LinkedIn group on the speed-governor rule currently expected for proposal later this year, called the speed-limiter mandate a “solution in search of problem…. In my observations, excessive speed for trucks is not a problem at all. Most trucks that aren’t governed are operated by owner-operators like myself who buy their own fuel. And we are some of the slowest drivers.”

Owner-operator Blair Blakely, via the same venue, noted he believed the rule was less about safety than about a kind of leveling of the playing field by eliminating what competitive advantage might come from speeds above 65. “The ATA and you and I operate at different ends of the same industry. They are in favor of anything to increase profits of their members and one way to increase profits is to eliminate competition, and we are the competition.” 

When the subject of a national speed limit is divorced from the mandate for governors, however, nearly a third of Overdrive readers appear to support the measure, provided it will slow down many of the auto drivers around them. Clinton Seals called out the 80 mph speed limit on some highways out west for “creating a lot of potential for major accidents, especially with all of those negligent text/handheld device users that are a danger to our highways while they are driving at those speeds.”

Seals’ support for a 65-mph-truck/70-mph-auto split national speed limit, however, drew the ire of others, who echo the thoughts of many over the years on the unsafe nature of split speeds, given they increase interactions in close quarters between autos and trucks. But Seals hammered home another point that nonetheless calls into question the efficacy of a national speed limit, without adequate enforcement: “We all know that most of the motoring public will still go over these limits,” Seals wrote, “so let our Highway Patrol do their work.”


Driver-to-driver tip: Slow down for a passing rig

Reader Kurt Kleinschnitz offered this driving tip in part to "improve the quality of life for the other drivers on the highway, and boost the ...

Perhaps summing up the overall No vote of the majority in the poll, one commenter noted that today’s state-to-state approach to speed limits reflected the reality that safe “speed is relative to the traffic and road conditions — 65mph, for example, is way too fast in crowded interstate conditions in inclement weather, but out on the open roads of Montana or Texas with no other vehicle in sight, it is not. In that second example, traffic and road conditions come in second to vehicle condition. Are the truck’s tires properly inflated, not cut or dry-rotted? Brand-new radials carrying their designed loading are safe to take up to their designed speed.

“In that special open road situation with no traffic on a clear day, a truck not overloaded with tires properly inflated in good condition could handle the rated top end speed of that tire — 80mph, 100mph, 120mph. But that comes with a waiver — a waiver and warning of heat buildup due to high speed, sidewall flex, and high road temps — all of which lead to an overheated tire that is likely to separate.”


Speed limiters, liability insurance hike rules see action, move closer to publication

A rule to require the use of speed limiters on trucks and a rule increasing the minimum insurance requirements for carriers both were sent to ...

The reader went on to share an anecdote of a friend who hit 110 mph on a barren road in a Peterbilt many years ago and “lived to tell about it.” Neither here nor there, however, he said, returning to the central point: “Speed is relative. I am more worried about traffic congestion, poorly maintained road surfaces and bad weather.”

No amount of speed regulation is going to change those three factors, and in the first case, many believe, governing truck speed may exacerbate the effect.

  • KW44

    You are obviously an idiot and an anti trucking advocate. Since you think all of these rules for commercial vehicles are good for safety, then you should have no objection to them being implemented for all vehicles. Limit your speed, how long you drive, where, when you can drive, what lane you drive in, reduce your speed limit at night and install cameras and GPS tracking in your vehicle and record everything you do. This will make the roads virtually risk free and safe according to your logic. You have no clue!!

  • realtrucker

    You have a twisted sense of humor. Please keep your ATA day job because you’re not qualified for a common sense career out here in the field.

  • Barney

    The problem isn’t the speed that the trucks are running. It’s too many distractions of the one’s not driving trucks(phone, etc) and simply not paying attention. Also part of the problem is all the dumb ass FMSCA/Politicians(idiots) in Washington that think they know what trucking is all about. Until they get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, their point becomes moot. All the speed mandate is going to do is create a labor shortage of experienced drivers. Now you have rookies training rookies driving trucks- good combination, right? I guess we should be used to the FSMCA/Washington and their stupidity by now.

  • Mind Games

    These people think we are just a bunch of docile animals And will do anything???
    What they fail to realize is America was founded upon violence and will die using the same methods, in other words her birth depended on the overthrow of the various governments and their outdated methods and yes sadly many died but look what happened as a result.
    Yeah we are paying the price for it but still it cannot be ignored that something better was set up, a country that screams freedom.
    Fast forward to today and it looks like we may need to make the same move again as a virus has infected the government a virus known as fascism.
    This virus cannot exist in the same environment as freedom and it is my belief that we will need to take the fight to the source and kill it there rather than deal with the symptoms later.
    The methods will require that any of you who currently work for a mega-carrier leave that infected host and move on to a small carrier as quickly as possible to allow the host to die.
    Write call go to your congressional persons office in huge numbers and raise holy hell using the various forums on the Web.
    Then we take the fight to the mother host the ATA and their field offices again in huge numbers and show the public this is where they are and shame them as much as possible and force the disease to die.
    Make no mistake about it this is a nasty disease and it must die a slow but horrible death.
    I still have a copy of the news article and will post it at the Truckers Report as soon as I dig it up today so you guys will know which host to kill off first.

  • pupeperson

    Look at the picture at the top of this page. It depicts a car rear-ending a semi. The caption with it would lead one to believe that kind of crash is 1/3 of the accidents involving heavy trucks. By what inane kind of convoluted logic does any thinking person conclude that slowing down the trucks even further is going to reduce either the number of these incidents or their severity? Oh, I know … it’s the same bureaucratic logic that brought us the ELD coupled w/ a14 hr clock that contributed to the Wal-Mart Tracy Morgan incident. The un-intended consequences of moronic rules promulgated in the name of safety are making the highways less and less safe every day. It makes me think safety exists in spite of these rules, not because of them.

  • pupeperson

    As a Nevadan, I agree with most of what you said re: the pre and post 55 mph speed limit introduction. What you didn’t say in your canned NHP accident report was that the proximate cause of 90% of those accidents was the drivers fell asleep from boredom. Then, they ran off the road, woke up, over corrected and finally rolled their vehicle.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Put down the crack pipe and think about it ! i happen to drive a a mustang GT when not in my truck and i own a number of motorcycles , all of them tend to get into the three digit numbers on a regular day , So you can kiss by ass !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Speek for your self , I make dam good money and do as i please , regulations like laws are made to be broken ,

  • Jimmy the Greek

    that is nothing new if you have 30 days to get a load from Freeport TX to upstate NY use the railroad !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Dam it boy What country are you from ? You make a red commie look like a a freedom fighter !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    ATA never spoke for the drivers ! only the bean counters !.

  • Harry S Munster

    It seems too often the ATA is submitting advice to the DOT while the OOIDA is constantly on the defense. Why in the hell is the DOT ignoring the obvious bias? I know the answer of course and its a stupid question yet it has to be sounded out again and again so that everyone is aware you are not fooling anyone into believing you have the publics safety and concern at heart. Your playing the industry and manipulating it using the government and law to cripple others so you can gain advantages. This needs to be shouted out constantly at the Whitehouse that this shit gets old and tiring we need a DOT that does the job its being paid to do..OR GET THE HELL OUT! Pack up yer desk and find another job and lets get someone in there that will do what they are paid to do..

  • Silver Eagle

    I would like to see that and let’s take into account the out dated fruit meat poultry and fish then see if trains are the answer strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.