Federal regulators are seeking to forcibly lower the speeds of semi-trucks, buses and other large vehicles by installed devices that would cap their top speed. The measure has been proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It would set the maximum speed for these large vehicles at either 60 mph, 65 mph or 68 mph, depending on the feedback they receive from the public.
Top NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind called the theory behind the proposal, “Basic physics.” That is, the faster a vehicle travels, the greater force the impact is going to be. When we’re talking about vehicles this large, the potential for damage is astronomical. In fact, regulators say that if this proposal is adopted, it has the potential to save somewhere between 162 to 500 lives every year. That could mean as many as half of the 1,000 people who die every year in accidents caused by speeding large trucks. What’s more, it could reduce the number of serious injuries by 550 or so while slashing the number of minor injuries by as much as 10,300 a year. Not only that, but the agency estimates it could means fuel savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would total nearly $850 million a year.
Unsurprisingly, some in the trucking industry is not enthused. There has been grumbling about the fact that truckers would need to be on the road longer and this will mean not just reduced profits for trucking firms, but also lower efficiency in many other economic sectors. Continue reading →