Could New Speed Limit Laws Backfire?
One of the main concerns with commercial vehicles has always been the combination of heavy loads being transported at high speeds. Because of this common fear, it wasn’t surprising when federal officials announced a proposal to limit the speeds of heavy vehicles.
Specifically, trucks and busses weighing over 26,000 pounds would be limited to a maximum speed of 68. Some vehicles could even be capped to lower speeds. The mandate would be enforced by electronic speed limiters, and would affect vehicles manufactured after the regulation goes into effect.
Many think that the matter comes down to the fact that a heavy vehicle moving at slower speeds would do less damage than a vehicle moving at faster speeds. It would also seem that a vehicle moving at slower speeds would be easier to avoid should the driver lose control. However, many truck drivers cite potential problems with the mandate which have seemingly been overlooked by officials.
The first is that the speed cap would result in heavy trucks themselves being more vulnerable to being collided with. Given that other vehicles would be able to maneuver at higher speeds, drivers piloting heavier vehicles would be unable to avoid hazardous should they need to adjust quickly on the road.
In addition, many think that this move could produce traffic congestion. Given that larger trucks moving at similar speeds may sometimes try to pass one another, this could result in multiple lanes being taken up at once. This type of congestion could also lead to quicker stops by motorists who are following the trucks, which could in turn lead to more accidents.
While some larger organizations within the industry support the new mandate, many small carriers and owner-operators are opposed. As with any major regulation, there is always debate over how it will affect the competitive landscape in trucking. Arguments for and against the mandate are still being considered.