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Study: Speed-limiting technology reduces commercial truck crashes

Given that Ohio is a major conduit through which the nation’s goods flow in commercial trucks plying the state’s interstates and freeways, Ohio truck drivers and other truckers who frequently drive through the state are intensely interested participants in any debate focused on truck accident matters and related safety issues.

That debate has just intensified in the wake of findings concerning truck speed limits from a study termed “the most comprehensive investigation ever done” on the subject. The report, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and released last week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, flatly states this: Commercial truck crash occurrences are reduced dramatically in vehicles with installed speed limiters and, given that, a national speed limit should be imposed on all motor vehicles in the transportation industry.

Not everyone agrees with that, with some truck drivers stating that a positive effect in that exaction would be reduced if the imposition applied only to truckers.

“I think we should all be regulated,” says the owner of one truck company who already has speed governors set at 65 miles per hour installed on all his trucks. He notes that a problem every bit as big as speeding truckers is the use of mobile devices already banned for truckers by the rest of the driving community.

“They should look at cell phone or handheld device use that is a major factor in incidents we see on the highway today,” he says.

Other truckers note that, when only trucks are going uniformly slowly on the roadways, other vehicles are traveling at highly varied speeds, which can create uncertainty and problems.

Some truckers and trucking organizations do strongly support a uniform rule and speed-limiting technology. The American Trucking Association, for example, petitioned the government several years ago to mandate speed limiters on all commercial vehicles.

“Speed kills,” says Bill Graves, the organization’s president.

The study will almost certainly be used as ammunition by government regulators favoring speed controls.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette, “Report: Make those big trucks slow down,” Paula J. Owen, April 2, 2012