Large trucks can be a hazard to other drivers, causing serious and sometimes fatal accidents. A new bill proposed in the U.S. Senate aims to reduce these accidents by limiting truck speeds.
The bipartisan effort by Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, and Chris Coons, D-Delaware would electronically limit heavy truck speeds to 65 miles per hour. This bill would replace a proposal from the Department of Transportation (DOT), which has been in limbo for over a decade.
The DOT’s proposal states that limiting truck speeds to 65 mph “would save 63 to 214 lives per year.” According to the bill’s sponsors, 1,115 fatal crashes each year involve heavy trucks traveling at 55 mph or higher.
Limiting pressure for truck drivers
While most commercial trucks have speed-limiting software built in, it is not used with consistency. However, the bill would require activation for this software. Another common issue is that most tires used on heavy trucks should not travel over 75 mph. If trucks exceed that rating, it can contribute to blowouts and crashes.
Truck drivers are often under immense pressure from their bosses, which leads to unsafe speeding and pushing their off-duty limits. When highways allow vehicles to drive up to 80 mph and the boss is demanding faster work, truck drivers can push past what they should do on the road despite the potential consequences.
The new bill could regulate some of those practices and keep management from pushing their employees too hard, which creates an unsafe environment on the road for everyone else.