The nation’s largest trucking-industry group wants the government to get moving on a rule requiring electronic speed-limiting devices on big rigs.
The American Trucking Associations says it opposes speed limits over 65 mph, and it has previously petitioned the government to require speed-limiting devices on trucks. Federal highway safety regulators proposed a regulation in 2011 to require the use of the devices, known as governors. But the measure has been stalled for years in a morass of cost analyses and government reviews.
The statement follows a story by The Associated Press last month revealing that most big truck tires aren’t designed to go over 75 mph. Yet 14 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River, have speed limits of 75 mph or above. Texas, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota have limits of 80 mph or higher.
The association said Monday that it wants speed limits reduced for all vehicles and said the recent trend toward higher state speed limits is “needlessly endangering millions of motorists.”
Transportation Department documents show the rule has been stalled in Secretary Anthony Foxx’s office since August.
Messages were left seeking comment from a department spokesman.
About 70 percent of trucking companies already have speed limiters on their rigs, and association spokesman Sean McNally said the rule would stop the rest from putting other drivers in danger. The association, he said, believes that government regulations aren’t always “inherently evil.”
He conceded that a uniform speed would level the playing field for all truckers, but said that was only a secondary reason for the proposal.
Many tractor-trailers on the nation’s roads are driven faster than the 75 mph their tires are designed to handle, a practice that has been linked to wrecks and blowouts but has largely escaped the attention of highway officials.
Nearly all truck tires have been built for a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph since the middle of last decade, when drivers across the vast majority of the U.S. were allowed to go no faster than 65 or 70 mph.
Safety advocates and tire experts say that habitually driving faster than a tire’s rated speed can generate excessive heat that damages the rubber, with potentially catastrophic results.