WASHINGTON and ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (Trucking Alliance) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) both said Wednesday they were in support of legislation to limit the maximum speed of tractor-trailers on the nation’s highways.
The Trucking Alliance is an industry-based safety coalition headquartered in Washington.
TCA is an association representing the interests of the truckload segment of trucking.
The “Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019” (S.2033) would direct the Secretary of Transportation to create a federal safety standard that requires all large commercial trucks to not exceed 65 miles per hour on the nation’s highways.
“The mission of the Trucking Alliance is to reduce and eventually eliminate all large truck fatalities and truck speed limiters are integral to achieving that objective,” said Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, co-founder and president of the Trucking Alliance and also a former chairman of the American Trucking Associations. “Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Coons, D-Del., should be applauded for making highway safety a bipartisan issue.”
“The long-standing policy of TCA is that all electronically governed Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 should be governed at a maximum speed not to exceed 65 miles per hour,” David Heller, TCA’s vice president of government affairs, said when the bill was introduced.
When the bill was introduced June 27, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations said the ATA is in the process of reviewing the details of the bill.
“Our policies support speed limiters, but only do so in the context of more uniform national speed limits for all vehicles,” said Jeremy Kirkpatrick, ATA’s director of strategic communications. “As the national trend on speed limits moves in the opposite direction with increasing variance, federal speed limiter efforts must at a minimum account for speed differentials and any potential safety risks that they can create.”
Regardless of the outcome of S.2033, the ATA takes a strong speed limiter position in a bill known as the DRIVE Safe Act, legislation designed to facilitate the ability of 18- 20-year old CDL holders to carry interstate commerce.
The bill is backed by the ATA as a member of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition, co-led by ATA and the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and includes the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies.
The DRIVE Safe Act sets forth a 120-hour probationary period and a requirement that the driver complete 280 hours of on-duty time, of which not less than 160 hours are driving time in a commercial motor vehicle.
During that entire period the tractor driven by the prospective interstate driver would have to be governed at speeds of 65 miles per hour at the pedal and 65 miles per hour under adaptive cruise control.
As for S.2033, in a prepared statement, TCA said that its association represents roughly 78 percent of the freight market by revenue share.
“It is fair to say that any rule regarding speed limiters will have the greatest effect on our segment of the trucking industry,” the statement said. “TCA’s members spoke with a unified voice when developing our policy in support of speed limiters, and today we are using this focus to lend support to a bill that we feel could make significant safety strides for all motorists on the nation’s roadways. TCA, and our truckload carrier members, recognize that traveling too fast for conditions is one of the most prominent reasons for accidents on our roads today.”
Heller said TCA’s carrier members represent the best that the trucking industry has to offer and have demonstrated time and again that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to trucking technology and its usefulness within their fleets.
“Speed limiting devices are just one example of this,” he said. “The majority of TCA’s members have already adopted speed limiters, in addition to many other safety technologies that we believe will save countless lives, and they are using their electronic logging devices to identify drivers in need of remediation.”
Williams said both his late father and grandfather drove trucks for a living.
“I’ve spent my entire career in the trucking industry,” he said. “There’s simply no legitimate reason for an 80-foot tractor trailer to be driven within a few feet of other motorists, at speeds of 70 or 75 or 80 miles per hour. The safety benefits of Senate Bill 2033 are obvious.”
S,2033 is named for Cullum Owings, who was killed by a speeding tractor-trailer during a trip back to college in Virginia after Thanksgiving in 2002.