The Department of Transportation is set to require the use of speed limiters, which they call Electric Control Modules (ECM), on some 18-wheelers.
In a March 2014 report regarding significant rulemaking, a new speed module rule may become applicable in October.
The requirement of an ECM would be for semi trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds and on highways with speed limits of 55 mph or over. Basically, this would cover the majority of big rigs to traveled both interstate and intrastate routes.
What is not mentioned in the report is the specific limits on speed that the modules would be set up at. Fortunately for carriers, the cost of installation for speed governors is relatively small.
Benefits of speed limiters are several including fuel savings, compliance with federal regulations and reduced accidents.
Not all truck drivers are in favor of the rulemaking and most oppose the requirements. However, the majority of large fleets in the United States already use devices that limit the speed of the fleet and also to monitor the driving habits of the drivers.
One of the main reasons for the speed limiter rules is the fact that semi trucks take much longer to stop at highway speeds than passenger cars or pickup trucks. This is a major cause of rare and accidents involving 18-wheelers.
It is also no surprise that accidents involving tractor-trailers at highway speeds are much more likely to be serious or fatal than most any other crash. The vast majority of truck crash fatalities are those from the other vehicle.
The new rule will be hard to enforce and discovering violations will be difficult. Many websites provide a how-to guides for removing a speed limiter from a big rig. Undoubtedly, many truckers will seek to disable the devise if they can get away with doing so.
Limiting the maximum speed of a commercial vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds sounds like a good idea from a safety perspective as well as a fuel savings perspective from the carrier’s point of view. Truckers usually get paid by the mile and this is not a popular rule with them.
Regardless of the positions of the truck drivers of the carriers, this new rulemaking looks to become the law of the land in the next several months. It will reduce accidents and also the number a speeding citations issued.
Because of the extensive use of speed governors already, the transition to the use for many more commercial vehicles is expected to be a smooth one.