The controversial topic of truck speed limiters has been raging for decades. Now, the issue is coming back up again because of new legislation called the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act.

If you’re unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding speed limiters (or governors), then join us as we tell you everything you need to know.

What Are Truck Speed Limiters?

Just as their name implies, truck speed limiters keep a truck from going over a certain speed. Speed limiters have already been built into most commercial trucks since the 1990s.

However, in the United States, speed limiters aren’t required to be turned on. Only companies or individual truckers can decide whether to use them or not.

Some companies set them in the 60 mph range while others put them much higher.

What is the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act?

The law is a bipartisan effort led by house representatives with the support of associations like Road America, Trucking Alliance, and more.

This new law is trying to mandate the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) requiring the use of speed limiters on all commercial trucks produced after 1992.

More specifically, the law states that speed limiters must be set at a top speed of 65 mph. Only trucks with technology like adaptive cruise control and automatic braking systems can have their limiters set higher at 70 mph.

The new law is named after Cullum Owings, a 22-year-old student who was killed in a car-truck collision in 2002.

However, the truck limiter debate goes back to the 90s. Various associations have petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to require speed limiters on all commercial vehicles.

The Drama of Truck Speed Limiters

If you’re in the trucking industry, you likely know all about the drama these limiters have caused. Truckers, by and large, don’t like speed limiters.

Many argue that using speed limiters actually makes the roadways more dangerous. They say that having the extra speed is good for getting around other trucks and meeting deadlines.

Opponents of the speed limiters also say that they’re dangerous because highway speeds are different around the country. That means that the speed limiter may make the truck too slow on some highways, making it unsafe for everyone.

However, supporters of truck speed limiters argue that it will make the roadways much safer. After all, in 2018, there were 4,951 truck-related fatalities, and speeding was a factor in 839 of them.

That means that 17% of all truck-related deaths that year were from speeding.

Many fleets use truck speed limiters not just for safety but also for efficiency. That’s because slower speeds mean better fuel efficiency.

Not only that, but higher speeds put pressure on tires and brakes, wearing them down quicker and driving up maintenance costs.

Will Speed Limiters Become Mandatory?

Back in 2016, both the FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) already proposed truck speed limiters. The proposal argued that truck speed limiters would be beneficial and make the roads safer.

That means that these agencies will likely make a ruling on speed limiters, even if this new congressional bill goes nowhere. Very soon, we may finally see the end to the speed limiter debate once and for all.

The Never-Ending Debate on Truck Speed Limiters was last modified: by