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Two legislators in the United States Senate have offered legislation that would cap the speed for 18-wheeler trucks in an attempt to save lives.

Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware introduced the bill that would limit the speed of tractor trailers to 65mph on Thursday. The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019, S.2033, would apply to commercial trucks with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more. Any new truck would be required to have software installed to limit the speed of the truck while old trucks would be required to be retrofitted with software in instances where the trucks have compatible software. 

The legislation would also require that, within six months of enactment, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation establish standards and rules to ensure that the speed-limiting technology on large trucks is accurate and that the trucks adhere to a maximum speed no faster than 65 mph.

In a press release, Isakson called the legislation “a lifesaving road safety measure” which would codify “a pending “speed limiter” rule that has languished in the federal bureaucratic process for 10 years.” Isakson’s office says “the department” has also found that the rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes a year involving vehicles with a weight of 26,000 pounds or more on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more.

The bill is named after Cullum Owings who was killed in an accident with a tractor trailer while returning to school. 

“The majority of trucks on our roads already have speed-limiting technology built in, and the rest of the technologically advanced world has already put them to use to ensure drivers follow safe speeds,” Isakson said in a press release. “This legislation would officially enforce a long-awaited speed limit of 65 mph on large trucks and reduce the number of preventable fatalities on our busy roadways.”

“Senator Isakson has long been a leader in advancing highway safety,” Coons echoed in the same news release. “I am pleased to introduce legislation with him that will help reduce accidents on our roadways by requiring the use of speed limiting technology in large trucks – a step that many companies have already taken to promote safety and fuel efficiency.”

The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 has been endorsed by Road Safe America, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Trucking Alliance, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Safety Coalition.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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7 COMMENTS

    • Wow we get cut off driving no were to park beside the road that’s a hazard u get fined by a stupid organization called RR now going to cut speeds down to 65 I guess when we go to California and the speeds is 70 75 at 65 I guess that’s not a hazard

  1. This is bull 90% of the deaths is caused by people not paying attention. Pulling out in front of trucks or following to close. Slowing trucks down will not stop deaths on the road.

      • Yes. The speed limit is 70. You want to slow trucks down? Come ride with me for a week and then tell me if it’s a good idea. While we’re at it if this passes increase driver’s pay for wasting more of our time. Also switch everyone to hourly pay with overtime wages.

      • Time is money. most OTR drivers get paid per mile and for the process of debate i’ll use .40 cpm. at 70 mph average speed you get 28.00 an hour and since drivers are limited to 70 hours in a week (this includes 30 minutes a day inspecting the truck for safe operation fueling, sitting at a shipper or receiver waiting to load/unload and i didn’t take any of that into consideration as the wait time is hard to find a common number to use but i did take into account 5 days of pre-trip/post-trip inspection which reduces your available hours from 70 to 67.5 figure fuel once per day at 30 minutes so your available hour are reduced by another 2.5 hours down to 65 available hours. that brings (at best) 1,820.00 per week gross, at 65 that drops to 1,690.00 gross per week. So just there you lose 130.00 a week pre-taxed with just a 5 mile difference. as i said, that does not take into account wait time (which is free time the driver has to log and is penalized for but does not get paid) And that’s just one reason.
        second reason. a study done by the university of michigan went back for years and looked at crashes involving trucks and cars, Regardless of who was ticketed they looked for causation. They found that 78% of crashes involving cars and trucks the cars are the initial fault of the car. not the truck driver. even looking at one of the senators websites show some alarming things. “When my wife, daughters-in-law, and mother-in-law were killed on I-75 in Chattanooga by a speeding truck driver who was high on meth,”
        wait.. high on METH???? But we need to slow down trucks?
        “A speeding truck driver, who had fallen asleep, killed my son Orbie in 2002” Fallen asleep. so the result would have been the same just 5mph slower.
        in 2018 there were 4,889 crashes involving semis. take that and multiply by 78% and you get 3,813 that were not the truck drivers fault. so 1076 per year are the fault of the truck drivers Over the course of 47,000 miles of interstate. yes there are huge holes that anyone can poke holes into if they tried hard enough in what i’ve typed. I’m lucky. i’m paid by the hour and anything over 40 hours is overtime. In one of the deadliest regions for truck drivers. West Texas oilfields. speed limit on 2 lane country roads is 70, interstate is 75. we have a fatality once a week here on average. And i completely agree with Mr. Sanders. switching to hourly pay a) pays drivers for being “on the clock” b) reduces the stress drivers deal with with OTR dispatchers pushing their “fleet” as hard as they can so they get paid bonuses for production.
        I’ll apologize for the very long almost novel i wrote. but i felt one or two sentences was insufficient for the discussion.

      • Think of it this way if you had a job that paid you by the mile at 1.00 a mile and you covered 75 miles every hr that’s $75.00 a hr you make now they slow you down 10 miles a hr how would you like a $10 hr pay cut? That equals a $110.00 a day pay cut ? And $5720.00 a yr cut so duh of course it matters

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