Trucking Industry Divided On Speed Limiters Issue

On behalf of Winters & Yonker, P.A. posted in Truck accidents on Friday, September 9, 2016.

Groups within the trucking industry predictably divided in their response to the recent proposal from the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding speed limiting devices. The two sides of the issue both claimed that an interest in safety drove them to their conclusions. The truth is that the groups conveniently sided with the position that would be most profitable.

The Owner-Operator Independent Owners Association (OOIDA) maintained its longstanding opposition to speed limiting devices. The executive vice president of the group stated that “Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed.” The American Trucking Associations (ATA) continued its support of speed limiting technology, touting the safety gains, as well as the “fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan benefits” that come with the devices.

Understanding why the two groups differ on whether the technology is a good idea requires an understanding of their market position. Many of the largest trucking companies have voluntarily installed speed limiting devices on their vehicles. While this may cause inconvenience to the drivers of these trucks, these companies have the power to minimize the losses and reap the benefits of such a policy. Independent drivers are forced to compete with larger players. They require greater flexibility to get ahead. If they have to operate in exactly the same way as large trucking companies, they lose a competitive advantage.

The sad truth is that the trucking industry, like almost any industry, places money ahead of safety to whatever extent they are able. If the goal is to make the highways safer and reduce deadly truck crashes, legislators and safety experts cannot afford to rely on the preferences of truck owners and trucking companies.

Source: Overdrive, “Trucking orgs split on speed limiters,” by Matt Cole, 5 September 2016

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