Congress Introduces 65 MPH Speed Limiter For Trucks

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Old School's Comment
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The people pushing the lobbyists and putting up all the money are the members of the ATA which are mostly the mega carriers. Just as the CEO of US Express was overjoyed with the ELD mandate and commented that it would force smaller companies to close giving them more freight, I see a similar issue here.

Robert, politics aside, let's talk about this using our brains. I understand there's a group of people in trucking that despise the ATA - you seem to find yourself in that camp. Let's use some reason and logic, leaving out our suspicions of conspiracy.

This is a commodities business. We are all doing the same thing on the same roadways with virtually the same equipment. Personally I'm governed at 62. That's never had any ill effect on my ability to produce well or make an exceptional income at trucking. I can still turn 3,400 mile weeks regularly.

Why would my employer be purposely limiting themselves to this speed limit if they knew it was hurting their ability to thrive in this business? They are free to run their trucks faster. Nobody is dictating that they do this. It's their decision. They have researched and tested this, built their own data, and determined their safety performance is best by being governed like this.

Now you yourself admit the ATA is mostly made up of the "mega carriers." For me, that's equivalent to saying it's made up of the best and brightest people in the industry. They got to be the "mega carriers" because they've been very successful. They've never had a problem imposing strict disciplines on themselves. They consider safety as one of the many critical pieces to the puzzle of success. Their results indicate that they are pretty smart at this game.

Honestly, it seems dumb to me to believe they actually think they will put small carriers out of business by having all trucks moving at a maximum of 65 mph. Seriously, the maximum speed limit in most of the country is 70 mph. That means you're going to go a scant 5 mph slower! If that kind of margin knocks the wheels out from under people then they were already in a world of hurt. Add on top of that you've got a fourteen hour window to drive eleven hours. Driving a little slower can only be considered a safety issue.

If you can present a reasonable argument to support what you're saying then great - we would like to hear it. But if it's just antagonistic conspiracies against those who've been successful, or claiming it doesn't "smell right," just doesn't add much to the conversation.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

One of the issues I see arising is - similar to parts of Canada - DOT hooking up computers to the truck, and OOS-ing/citing folks who aren't governed.

Since a majority of the majors ARE doing it ANYWAYS - I don't see the "conspiracy" of thinking the minors are going to have "some advantage" over the majors by NOT doing so.

It's a commonly known fact that SLOWER=BETTER FUEL MILEAGE. And as OS says - SLOWER is always SAFER THAN FASTER.

What I don't see is the REAL AGENDA behind this - and why MORE REGULATIONS solve a problem that doesn't exist for the most part. If this is about the recent Colorado crash, the truck was going fast because it was GOING DOWN A GRADE. Speed Limiters had ZERO TO DO WITH this crash.

I just hate seeing the .gov getting MORE INVOLVED than it already is - when most of the signatories to the ATA already have limiters in place.

While it may (or may not be) about "enhanced safety" - anytime .gov gets involved, there's something deeper going on (you aren't paranoid if they're REALLY OUT TO GET YOU). I'm just not sure what it actually is...

Rick

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Ok, simple answer. If it's about safety, why bypass the federal organization responsible for safety and go straight to the lawmakers by using lobbyists and influence? Why ignore the studies from so many states which are repealing split speed limits which show they are more dangerous? There's more to it than they're letting on.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

The other question would be, why is it that an organization currently controlled by companies which make up less than 10% of the industry are so determined to implement an industry wide standard which they cannot prove will impact safety in a positive way? This goes back two years when they pitched the idea and couldn't get the blessing of FMCSA because their findings showed an adverse effect. This time. they bypassed that and went straight to lawmakers. Rick's initial statement said it all quite simply.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Did a little deeper dive into this.

Apparently, this was spearheaded by a guy who started a non-profit - (hate those, since bit $$'s are made by the owner in many cases (not ALL, but many)) after his son was killed in an accident with a TT. The bill is named after his kid. Now the backstory (from what I got) was the kid was in a line of slow/stopped traffic on a highway in VA, jumped out into a lane right in front of a TT who couldn't stop or get out of the way. This accident happened in 2002. The driver was charged with reckless, but I couldn't find any data on whether or not he was exceeding the speed limit.

The ATA is behind the measure - OOIDA is not (no surprises there).

You'll get no argument from me that "slower is safer" - but the measure does seem to have some bias against the small/independent, versus the megas - as most megas are already limited for "safety" and fuel economy. Some of the statistics stated appear to be FLAWED however. Example: cites that large vehicle crashes in Canada dropped by 73% after speed limiters were enacted. Unless Canadian truckers are ALL DRIVING like they're at the Indy 500, this (purported) data doesn't seem realistic.

At any rate - whether or not the bill passes and gets signed by DJT is debatable. Whether or not it has some huge impact on safety, is likewise debatable.

What may end up happening, is logjams of trucks running 65 on 70MPH highways, running neck and neck and slowing traffic, because no one can make a pass effectively.

Now most of us safety conscious types will say the driver on the right should slow down, to allow the passing driver to complete the pass - but I get the overall feeling that limiting EVERYONE to 65 may create more problems than it solves. Safety conscious drivers are still going to be safe - and a-holes are still going to be a-holes (albeit likely even more frustrated).

I brought up the topic to INFORM the forum of what may be coming down the pike. Not to start a cat-fight about speed limiters and "ulterior motives" (whether or not I suspect them myself).

Do I think the trucks that pass me when I'm doing 70 are a little nuts? Yeah - I do. Would I be JEALOUS OF THEM, if I could only do 65? Nah - don't think so.

When I do "road trips" in the car - and run cruise @ (usually) 9MPH over the limit (because unless you're in a construction zone, you typically won't get stopped at less than 10MPH over in a car), I find, with fuel/food/restroom stops - that I am PASSING THE SAME TRUCKS I PASSED that were doing 65, OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I also run a radar/laser detector & laser jammer system. Now, granted - they aren't making as many stops as I am (and I try and stop every 2 hours to stay fresh) - but the fact that they are making about the SAME TIME as I am, running 10-15MPH slower, tells me I am really wasting TIME AND FUEL by going as fast as I am.

So - as much as drivers here (and elsewhere) complain about being in a speed limited truck - this will effect MOST DRIVERS HERE NOT IN THE LEAST - as they are ALREADY SPEED LIMITED. And if you work for a company that does fuel bonuses, you may find yourself getting them more often, as you are not encouraged to keep your foot in the pedal.

Implementing this, in trucks that are capable, is a 5 minute fix - since ALL TRUCK COMPUTERS already have this feature in firmware. All you have to do is enable it and set the speed. What shops will charge for it? Shouldn't be a whole lot - unless the law passes and everyone decides to GOUGE. Megas like already have the interface and software in house, so it shouldn't cost them anything (and they already do it anyways).

Rick

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Agreed Rick. My intent wasn't to start a cat fight. My question is specifically to motive and the fact of how they're pursuing it. Indiana is one of the 12 states currently looking to repeal split speed limits. A local radio host interviewed an individual with state DOT a few months ago on his program and that individual pointed to the fact that the majority of accidents are not caused by commercial drivers but rather the motoring public being impatient with forced slower vehicles and making rash decisions causing accidents. They reviewed models showing that a consistent flow of traffic reduced a significant amount of those types of accidents and pointed to the fact that the public needed to be less distracted and more patient but punishing the safer group of drivers wasn't the correct solution. Their decision found that the consistent flow would lead to safer motorways. Indiana isn't the only state to come to this same conclusion which has me asking, where are the studies the ATA is using which contradicts multiple states findings and why isn't that information being processed through the proper channels?

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rubber Duck's Comment
member avatar

I just wish every vehicle on the road was governed to the speed limit. Then the roads would be twice as safe or higher. They have the technology to do this and it would save so many livea. Instead of waiting for robots to save us we need this already existing technology implemented today.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

All states report all crashes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute (NHTSI). The data is there.

Arkansas repealed their split speed law last year because they along with others found it unsafe. Michigan raised the truck speed limit to 65 last year. It isn’t a repeal, but 5 mph difference is better than a 15 mph difference. The accurate data is out there. Split speed limits between class’s of vehicles are unsafe.

I agree changes should occur through proper channels, not someone in a position of influence/power shoving things down our throats. That always gives me concerns. I also do not like masking true intent. This does leave a person wondering what the true intent is behind it. Claiming this is purely for safety is BS, because the factual crash data does exist to show this action will actually be more unsafe.

If they truely want to enact something of this nature then put the restriction on all vehicles. Make it even across the board. That would be in the interest of safety.

I fully agree slower speed will save lives. Personally I drive an ungoverened truck. I generally set the cruise on 65-67 already. This won’t change the way I already drive. Can I drive differently if I choose. Yes. I keep it safe. There are some loads I push a little harder and yes over the course of a 2-3 day trip I can save some time, espically in the west where the speed limits are 75 mph. However those types of trips are the exception rather than the rule.

We have drivers in canada and I have discussed this topic with dome of them and a trainer manager we have up there that has been in trucking 35 years in canada. They all hate the law up there and claim it has not accomplished its desired outcome because cars are not restricted and crashes are still happening.

This is a complex problem, but knee jerk reactions won’t solve it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

I followed a grain hauler yesterday on a two-lane State road with a 55 mph speed limit. His minimum speed was 60 mph and that was in the 45 mph curves. Most of the time he was running about 75 mph, several times pushing near 80.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I'm sorry, but I find it impossible to believe that limiting trucks to 65 mph is a knee-jerk reaction to anything. It's simple common sense. Nobody needs an 80,000 pound truck barrelling down the highway at 80+ mph.

I've looked at some of the reports you guys have cited and they are just utter nonsense. Unfortunately it's incredibly easy to make statistics sound the way you want them to. Using incomplete statistics is the easiest way in the world to manipulate people into believing whatever you'd like them to believe. I've always been a mathematics guy so as soon as you throw an incomplete or manipulative statistic at me it's immediately obvious.

For instance, they say "80 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred at speed limits posted no higher than 65 mph. Nearly 60 percent of the crashes were on roads posted at 55 mph or lower."

Of course there's no mention of the percentage of vehicles that are driving on roads with lower speed limits versus roads with higher speed limits. There is also no mention of how congested the highways with lower speed limits are versus the highways with higher speed limits. On top of those, how about the nature of the roadway itself? How tight are the curves? How steep are the mountains? What is the length of the line of sight?

The overwhelming majority of vehicles in this country are driving on roads with lower speed limits, and those roadways are in the most congested parts of the country, including the heaviest city traffic. Roadways with lower speed limits also contain tighter, curvier sections of highway with a limited line of sight. They are also the roadways that run through difficult mountain terrain.

So naturally the statistics are going to work out that way. If that isn't blatantly obvious to you then unfortunately you're easily manipulated and you're exactly the type of person they're directing those statistics at. You have to be able to understand the big picture and take into consideration the entire context to really come up with useful statistics.

I've always felt they should limit the speed that all vehicles can run. It never made any sense to me that cars can run 100+ mph.

At the same time I'm in favor of setting up a proper infrastructure that allows people to have choices. For instance, you could set up special highways, or retrofit lanes on existing highways to allow vehicles to travel at much higher speeds, maybe even in excess of 100 mph. You would have to qualify to use those highways by having a vehicle designed to handle those speeds, tires rated at those speeds, and special training to get a designation on your license that allows you to be out there. You simply set up a scanner that scans a person's license as they get on the highway to make sure they're qualified to be out there.

As far as this "pretending it's for safety" thing? Look, I enjoy a good Government or corporate conspiracy theory as much as the next guy. But there is a contingent of truckers that seem to believe that every single law or regulation is a conspiracy designed by the Government or corporations to hurt the little guy. I'm all for having that conversation, but please come up with some truly valid reasoning.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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