Truck drivers are reaching the boiling point when it comes to more government regulations overseeing their profession. As 2011 becomes known as the “Year of Safety,” drivers see it as a year of complicated bureaucracy making what is already a tough life even tougher. Next on the agenda . . . speed limiters for all heavy-duty trucks.
On October 20, 2006, the American Trucking Association (ATA) submitted a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requesting that the agency initiate rulemaking to amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standards to require vehicle manufacturers to install a device to limit the speed of trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds to no more than 68 miles per hour.
The ATA was joined by the safety advocacy group, Road Safe America and nine motor carriers which consists of Schneider National, C.R. England, H.O. Wolding, ATS Intermodal, DART Transit Company, J.B. Hunt Transport, U.S. Xpress, Covenant Transport, and Jet Express. The NHTSA plans to initiate the rulemaking process on this issue with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2012. A complete explanation of the document details can be read at the regulations.gov website.
It is important to note that you can voice your concern over this proposed document through the comment submission page.
When considering the new CSA rules and regulations to improve safety and reduce fatal accidents, there should be given a time frame to determine if these new regulations have proven to be successful. By implementing speed limiters, it suggests that the element of CSA which encourages and measures drivers in the basic area of Driver Safety, is not sufficient or adequate. Are drivers not responsible enough to follow the new laws and regulations? Are they not professionals? Does this mean that CSA is already being projected as unsuccessful in its original goal to create safer drivers, companies, and highways?
Points for the NHTSA to consider:
- Possibility that fatal truck accidents can actually be caused by the use of speed limiters. FMCSA studies should be conducted showing the comparison of high speed fatal truck accidents (without speed limiters) vs. fatal truck accidents involving the use of speed limiters.
- Better company CDL training programs mandated and enforced to ensure new drivers are safe and responsible. Trainers should remain in passenger seat at all times observing trainee behavior and not sleeping in the birth.
- The ATA has stated repeatedly, especially during their arguments involving the new hours of service proposal, that fatal truck crashes have been reduced significantly in the last few years.
- If speed limits are no longer considered safe, then perhaps it is the speed limits themselves that need to be re-evaluated rather than placing speed limiters on certain commercial vehicles. This would also address the need to reduce fuel consumption and fuel emissions for ALL vehicles, not just heavy trucks. It would also prevent a speed differential between trucks and cars, which JB HUNT has stated, “This speed differential may cause a safety hazard…”
- CSA, better driver training, PSP driver profiles for hiring, higher wages, and well rested drivers will create the safest roads…. not more regulations. Regulations are just the quick fix to divert from the more deep rooted problems of the trucking industry.
Truth About Trucking “LIVE” discussed Speed Limiters – Possible New Mandate for Truckers on Thursday, January 13th, 2011 on the popular internet talk radio show :
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