Fuel for Thought


By Greg Huggins
Posted Apr 28th 2022 10:43AM

Once again the issue of speed limiters on trucks has reared its ugly head. Years ago, the issue of requiring speed limiters to be added to trucks was quashed. The idea back then was that if ONLY the trucks could be slowed down, it would make our highways and byways safer for the rest of the motoring public. If they could just get all the trucks to lumber along at their designated “safe” speed, this could be the answer to solve the crash problems plaguing our roadways. 

Trucks are already equipped with speed limiters, however, many don’t utilize it properly. The current speed limiter on board all trucks on the road today seems to be uncalibrated in many trucks. This speed limiter has been equipped on ALL trucks since the first trucks hit the dirt roads of this country. This speed limiter does need to be calibrated “from the factory” to proper specs, prior to use. This speed limiter is the DRIVER of the truck. A properly trained driver knows the limits of their equipment. A properly trained, professional driver is interested in their safe return to their loved ones and can limit their speed to a safe level. Improperly “schooled” CDL holders lack the experience gleaned from personal training many of us had years ago. 

The other speed limiter currently available to trucks and cars is enforcement. Every public road I have ever driven on has a speed limit. If you have been driving for a few years, you may have found a few places where law enforcement officers are sticklers for the laws of their jurisdiction. Most drivers will say something like “the speed limit in (insert city name) is 55 and they mean 50”. In other words, where KNOWN speed limit enforcement is a recurring theme, drivers limit their speeds as well. Enforcement will limit the speed of not just trucks, but all the traffic that passes through. 

I know that the FMCSA can only regulate commercial vehicles, so they can only try to push these speed limiters on trucks, but, rather than limit truck speeds, why not lower all speed limits on roadways and enforce those limits?

So while we are in a supposed “driver shortage” and have supply chain issues getting products to consumers, the best idea “they” have come up with is to slow down trucks. That should make the job even more appealing to those who may want to enter the trucking industry(NOT!).

Speed Limiters On Work (S L O W) will effectively create more supply chain issues, further clog the roads and create a greater need for more trucks and drivers. 

The proposed rulemaking for speed limiters years ago obviously did not pass, this was pre mandatory ELD (Electronic Logging Device) years. Fast forward to the current proposal, speed limiting is being reintroduced as it will be easy to set limits using the ELD and its connection to the truck’s data port.  

Proper training, proper dispatching and law enforcement can handle limiting the speed of trucks and the latter can also handle speed limiting on cars. There is no need to force ALL trucks to conform to a lower speed limit. 

In today’s market, efficiency is key to success. Every truck owner that has a choice, has set up their equipment to the desired specs to be driven a certain way. City or regional trucks are generally built to run efficiently at 50-55 MPH, as this is their primary route. OTR (Over The Road) trucks are generally spec’d to run efficiently at higher speeds, generally 60-65 MPH since their main routes are open road interstates and highways.

Slowing down ALL trucks via speed limiters may seem like a good idea on the surface, but like most things in life, if you make a drastic change there will be unintended consequences to follow.

See you down the road,