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FMCSA Releases Research on Benefits of Speed Limiters in Large Trucks

Benjamin Smith
Principal Technical Analyst

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released research this week on the benefits of using speed limiters (SLs), also known as speed governors, in large trucks. For more information, view the FMCSA's document, titled "Speed-Limiters."  
SLs are a technology that allows trucking fleets or truck owners to program a preset maximum speed of travel. Many trucking fleets use SLs not only to increase safety by reducing their trucks’ top speed, but also to reduce tire wear, extend the life of the brakes and engine, improve fuel economy, and so on.  

In January 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed limiting the speed of all heavy trucks to 68mph. NHTSA stated its intent to initiate the rulemaking process on this issue in 2012. Read NHTSA's notice in the Jan. 3, 2011 Federal Register.   

Viewpoints differ on the issue of mandating the use of SLs in heavy trucks. Agencies and groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Road Safe America, and the Truckload Carriers Association, have stated their support for SLs in large trucks for reasons including reduced severity of crashes and various economic benefits. However, critics of government-mandated SLs, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), have stated their opposition for reasons such as the potential for speed-governed trucks to become “rolling roadblocks” when operating in faster flows of traffic.  

Research published in the American Journal of Public Health in March 2009, titled “The Effect of State Regulations on Truck-Crash Fatalities,” examines the effects of certain traffic safety policies and restrictions on fatality rates in truck-involved crashes.

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