Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CBS News wades in on speed limiter proposal

Perhaps you saw the piece on last night’s CBS Evening News about the speed limiter mandate? According to Jon Osburn, the skipper of OOIDA’s Spirit of the American Trucker tour truck, the folks who came by and paid him a visit at the Petro in Clearwater, Minn., sure did, and they weren’t exactly thrilled by what they saw. Which is understandable, since (based on what we’ve been hearing from members) the proposed speed limiter mandate is virtually unanimously despised by those who have to drive trucks, and by many of us who share the roads with them.

Here’s the report:

When the news agency tweeted out links to the teaser video last night, OOIDA responded with a friendly reminder that the proposed mandate will make highways less safe, and that all traffic should move at the same relative speed.

The proposed rulemaking on speed limiters is expected to publish in The Federal Register any day now. Although it doesn’t actually specify a speed that trucks will be limited to, federal regulators are considering capping trucks at 60 mph, 65 mph, or perhaps 68 mph. The proposal is aimed at trucks larger than 26,000 pounds, generally model year 2000 or newer and ECU-equipped.

OOIDA staunchly opposes the mandate, on the grounds that studies show speed differentials actually increase the risk of traffic accidents by promoting more vehicle interactions. You don’t even have to be a truck driver to know that each day hundreds of passenger vehicles are weaving in and out of lanes in an attempt to get around a large truck that’s plugging along, sometimes as much as 15 mph slower than the posted speed limit.

Probably the biggest issue with the coverage in the CBS report is the complete lack of coverage of the very real safety issues posed by split speeds. It’s certainly an issue that Land Line has covered extensively, both in the U.S. and in Canada.

While it may seem like “common sense” at first blush that it’s safer to slow down large vehicles and reduce the force multipliers in a potential crash, the consequences of split speeds could end up increasing the number of crashes, something nobody should want to see.

Would’ve been nice to hear what CBS’s opinion on the rest of that story might be.