Traffic Safety Administration Urged to Require Speed Limiting Technology on Commercial Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been urged to require speed limiting technology to be set on all heavy commercial vehicles at 68 miles per hour. In a Grant Decision that was filed January 3, 2011, the technology was to be evaluated based on a petition that had been pending for approximately 5 years.

Since 1992, it has been a standard feature of tractor trailer trucks manufactured after 1992 to have electronic on-board speed governors. However, not all are activated and the top end speed is subject to adjustment. The result is that many heavy commercial trucks are traveling at speeds on highways that prevent them from safely responding to emergencies. Because most interstate truckers are paid on a by-the-mile formula, the compensation system for interstate trucking creates an incentive for speeding—a fact that is at odds with any reasonable public safety considerations.

It is common in European Union countries, Japan, Australia, and heavily populated areas of Canada that speed governors are set at top speeds of 55 to 65 miles per hour.