Two U.S. senators have proposed a bill that would limit Class 7 and Class 8 truck drivers from going above 65 mph. The speed would be regulated by an electronic speed limiting device installed in semi-trucks.
Although the majority of U.S. semi-trucks already have electronic speed limit monitors in them, they are not federally regulated or required.
The proposed bill may save lives nationwide
It is estimated that heavy trucks driving above 55 mph cause approximately 1,115 fatal accidents every year. The proposed bill postulates that many lives could be saved with speed limit restrictions. According to an analysis from the Department of Transportation, limiting semi-truck speeds to 65 mph would save 63 to 213 lives per year.
For the president and founder of Road Safe America, who founded the organization shortly after his son was killed by a speeding semi on his way back to college, the proposed bill is the answer to a necessary and long overdue speed limit enforcement.
The bill would require all new trucks to have electronic speed monitors installed and would require the trucks that already have the monitor to use them. It would not require trucks that are already on the road without the monitors, to have them installed.
If passed, the bill could potentially decrease the number of tire blow-outs too. Most heavy truck tires are not meant to withstand speeds exceeding 75 mph, yet many states have speed limits as high as 80 mph causing a spike in heavy truck tire blow-outs.
Opposition to the speed limit restriction
Although many highway safety advocates support this proposed bill, some trucking industry groups have objections. Opposers of the bill explain that it would cause an increased speed gap between heavy trucks and other vehicle traffic. These speed differentiations may cause more traffic jams and accidents.
Some studies found that vehicles traveling 10-15 mph slower than the average speed of traffic, were at a higher risk of being involved in a crash. Whether or not the bill passes, semi-truck drivers are encouraged to watch their speed and understand the risks associated with the cargo they are hauling and the roads they are driving on.