The Transition to Speed Governors
November 30, 2016
Author: Kyle Hammann, Account Administrator
Changes are coming to the trucking industry in way of regulations. One of the current topics is a rule that will require electronic speed governors on all trucks and buses over 26,000 pounds. These speed governors could be mandated to 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour depending on what the final decision is and could be a significant game changer for the lives of millions in the trucking industry.
As we look forward to this potential new rule, there seems to be plenty of pros and cons when considering speed governors. The majority of truckers that are opposed to this rule are independent contractors. They are arguing that by setting a certain maximum speed, it would cause an increased crash risk by creating unsafe speed differentials between cars and trucks. This would put truck drivers and the general motoring public at a greater risk while driving. Some also argue that a speed governor mandate would create more “traffic jams”, making highways more inefficient, unsafe, and make it even more difficult for the drivers to perform their jobs. Although this may restrict the drivers themselves, the actual trucking companies could see many benefits.
Today’s motor carriers want to stay up to date with new technology because it makes operating their business much more efficient and easier. Motor carriers spend thousands of dollars each year on insurance premiums which can rely heavily on inspections and motor vehicle record (MVR) activity. Speeding is a violation that could show on a driver’s MVR but also as a violation on a motor carrier’s Safety Measurement Systems’ (SMS) scores causing increases in the insurance premium for the motor carrier. Speed governors could help take away these types of violations that could cause this spike in cost. Another large benefit to motor carriers is their reduction in fuel costs. The potential is there to have a staggering reduction in fuel costs upwards of one billion dollars. This comes from not having frequent acceleration done by the driver beyond a certain speed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are also in favor of this regulation. These groups argue that once speed governors are in effect, the safety feature would save hundreds of lives and cut down on billions of dollars in fuel costs each year. Simple physics will show that if a truck travels at a slower speed, the impact of a crash will be less severe and fewer people will be injured.
The number of crashes and fatalities involving heavy trucks is hard to hide and this is just another step to continue to make the highways safer. While drivers might feel an initial pinch, motor carriers could definitely start to see some cost-benefits that come with this new rule. Only time will tell what other changes are in store for the trucking industry.
|Kyle Hammann is an Account Administrator in the Transportation Group at Cottingham & Butler. Kyle graduated William Penn University with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration.|