October 29th, 2015
Whether you’re a truck driver or a company owner, you know what a huge impact fuel consumption has on the truck driving industry. Fuel costs fluctuate on a daily basis, and when you’re talking about a vehicle as large as a straight truck or tractor-trailer, that can be a huge difference in operating expenses from day-to-day.
Furthermore, excessive fuel use is not good for the environment. In an effort to minimize the impact of truck driving on the ozone layer, the government has proposed a speed limiter mandate. This would require trucks to be fitted with speed limiters that restrict their speed to one that is most fuel-efficient. Clearly, many believe that speed limiters are a win-win for the truck driving industry and for the environment.
More and More Companies Turning to Speed Limiters
This rule went to the White House in spring of 2015. Officials are debating how to best enforce it, primarily whether it should be a retroactive requirement or if it should only be applied to newly manufactured trucks.
Some companies are already installing the limiters in their new or existing trucks, which they hope will minimize their cash output when this law goes through.
This is particularly important for large trucking fleets with thousands of trucks, as this rule is expected to go through by the end of 2015 and equipping trucks with additional equipment can be very time-consuming for large fleets.
Benefits of Speed Limiters
It’s clear that speed limiters are beneficial for the environment. For most vehicles, fuel efficiency decreases quite a bit beyond 65 MPH. Trucks carrying large loads already have fairly low rates of fuel efficiency, so any measure that can minimize expenses and environmental impact is one that should be tried.
Furthermore, a measure like this one may improve safety on the road. All vehicle crashes are serious at high speeds, but they are even more so when they involve large trucks. Trucks that do not go above certain speeds may create a safer driving environment and prevent expensive and fatal crashes.
Controversy in the Trucking Industry
Despite the benefits that may be offered by speed limiters, there are drivers and associations within the industry that oppose their use and particularly oppose a mandate enforcing them. Specifically, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has spoken out against the law and argued that it may actually make roads more unsafe.
In contrast, the American Trucking Association began advocating for the implementation of this rule back in 2006. In fact, it was their advocacy work that encouraged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create and implement this rule. In general, most associations and industry leaders agree that this is a step in the right direction for the truck driving industry.
You may see speed limiters become law in a matter of weeks, not months or years. Like the mandate requiring electronic logging devices, though, it is probable that the government will give carriers a generous window of time in which they can get vehicles up to code, making this law accessible and affordable for company owners and owner-operators.
We want to know what you think! Leave your comments about speed limiters below!