Why Speed Limiters May Not Be Making Our Roads Safer

Every year thousands of people die in traffic accidents and many of those deaths are considered preventable. With this in mind governments are looking for new ways to make highways and roads safer and reduce the amount of fatalities. One tool that is being used more and more in the trucking industry is the speed limiter. This, however, has not come about without some controversy.

The idea behind a speed limiter for large commercial trucks is simple. If you reduce the speed of the trucks you make the roads safer. When a truck is fully loaded with cargo its ability to break in an emergency is greatly diminished. It comes down to simple physics. The heavy a vehicle is, the longer it will take to stop. In theory this should prevent many accidents which are caused when drivers are not able to stop in time.

A further benefit to the speed limiters is the reduced amount of fuel consumed to truck goods across the country. Studies have shown that for every 1 mile per hour less a vehicle travels results in a fuel savings of 1 percent. Fuel costs are one of the largest expenses in the trucking industry so that savings can have a significant effect on the bottom line.

This is also good for the environment. The burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming and using less fuel means that lesser amounts of greenhouse gases are being pumped into the air. A truck traveling at 62 miles per hour would produce about 33 tons less CO2 in a year compared to the same truck traveling at 68 miles per hour.

Many in the trucking industry, however do not see the use of speed limiters as all good. The issue of safety has been raised. Some feel that highways could be made more dangerous if cars are constantly traveling at a much higher speed than the trucks that share the roadway. This difference in speed can make lane changes, passing and merging much more challenging not to mention stressful for the driver.

Because of these concerns some drivers have taken their cases to court in an effort to get speed limiters removed from their rigs. While a few of the court cases have been successful there has been no definitive case that spells the final word of the use of these devices. We are likely to see more battles on this issue in the years to come.

As the topic plays out in the court system the truth is that without the proper data we cannot know for sure how good speed limiters are. Everyone can easily see the they have a very good benefit for the environment but just how safe they make our roads is another matter.

More studies need to be carried out to see just how safe speed limiters make our highways. This means watching the numbers carefully. In the end a balance will need to be struck between the safety of our highways, the health of the environment and the safety of truckers who spend their lives driving across the country.

Stefan Hyross writes for a truck transportation company which specializes freight brokering services for industries across Canada and the United States.

Speak Your Mind


Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free