Members of the American Trucking Associations want the federal government to pick up the pace regarding a proposal to place electronic speed limiters on the country’s big rigs. The trucking industry’s largest trade group requested that all trucks be fitted with devices that would limit top speeds to no higher than 65 miles per hour. The ATA’s position is primarily based on the idea that reducing and regulating truck speeds would decrease the number of collisions on the roads.
In October 2006, the ATA petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to request that the organization initiate a mandate on the speed-limiting devices. The regulation has yet to be implemented, so trucking companies are pushing for action. Supporters of the petition claim that most tractor-trailer tires aren’t designed for the high speed limits set on U.S. highways. The argument for those who want to govern speed is that the devices would offer substantial safety benefits to all drivers.
Opponents of the proposal claim highway safety as the foundation for their viewpoints as well, arguing that the electronic devices would create unpredictable differentials in speed. The belief is that trucks and cars traveling at different speeds will increase the likelihood of crashes, particularly on busier roads. Those challenging the mandate say the flow of traffic is smoother and safer when there is a uniform speed among vehicles.
The ATA has openly stated that even though a large portion of the trucking industry already uses the electronic speed-limiting devices, the roads are still not as safe as they could be. Representatives from the trucking group strongly believe a government directive would make a significant difference and are continuing their fight with the NHTSA, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with the hope that the regulation is quickly pushed forward.