The U.S. Department of Transportation persistently works to improve safety on the nation’s highways. Much of their time is spent researching current accident statistics and ways to reduce the number of accidents that occur daily. A recent study, petitioned by the American Trucking Association, highlights what many have theorized for years — speed kills. The ATA requested the study in an effort to show the need for speed limiters on commercial and heavy duty trucks.
Speed was classified as driving over posted limits or driving too fast for the conditions. Using this definition of speed, the research team found that speed was a factor in 8 percent of reported large truck crashes. A review of accident reports further showed that approximately 23 percent of all large truck accidents cited driving too fast for the conditions as a contributing factor in the crash.
Speed limiters are fairly inexpensive devices that can be installed on trucks. Each speed limiter is pre-programmed with a maximum speed. Truck companies have used these devices previously to increase brake and engine life and decrease wear and tear on tires.
Opponents of the speed limiters believe that the devices can cause dangerous circumstances by not allowing drivers to speed up in heavy traffic to pass other vehicles or the limiters may cause great speed differences between large trucks and other passenger vehicles on the road.
The recent study shows that the use of speed limiters may be a step in the right direction to reduce the number of crashes on the nation’s highways. Implementation of the devices is easy for semi-trucking companies. The devices are standard equipment on most trucks; all the trucking companies have to do is activate the device.
A reduction in the speed that semi-trucks are traveling on our roads is not likely to eliminate crashes involving these large vehicles, but the use of speed limiters may reduce the severity and number of crashes. Implementation of speed limiters would be a positive step toward safer roadways for the nation.