Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), wrote an op-ed on Trucks.com this week: Why Lower Speed Limits and Truck Speed Limiters Will Save Lives.
Our research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that 33,000 deaths between 1993 and 2013 can be attributed to speed limit increases.
Traffic deaths from speeding have risen since the 1995 repeal of the federal 55 mph speed limit.
Annually, the number of lives lost because of speed limit increases nearly cancels out the number of lives saved by frontal air bags.
His argument, in a nutshell:
We are all aware of the increased likelihood of fatality with an increase in speed.
The states have been raising speed limits for the last 20 years. (41 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher on some roads.)
At the very least, the federal government could cap speed on the biggest, heaviest and deadliest trucks.
Lund makes a case for requiring speed limiters in heavy trucks, and urges support for a rule proposed by FMCSA and NHTSA. This issue has been throughly debated in the trucking industry and among safety advocates (including on TruckingWatchdog.com.)
What we don’t know—and what Lund doesn’t address—is more basic than the relative merits of speed limiters. What is Trump’s plan for trucking, roads and safety?
We don’t know.
At last check, the Trump administration had frozen all pending federal regulation.
Elaine Chao has been confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Transportation, but there are many important vacancies within USDOT—including an administrator for the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.
For more, see:
Are speed limiters in heavy trucks really a good idea?
Many argue that a small increase in speed has a large effect on the force of an impact: speed limiting devices in heavy trucks would save lives.
Others argue that speed limiters in semi-trucks alone may end up creating a whole other set of safety issues for the driving public.