Please read how RSA’s argument for Speed Limiters on Heavy Commercial Vehicles was covered a few years ago.

From the New York Times
November 27, 2005
Tragedy Moves a Grieving Father to Press for Safer Driving


ATLANTA, Nov. 26 (AP) – The holiday traffic that will clog the nation’s highways Sunday is more than just an annual inconvenience for Steve Owings. It is a heartbreaking reminder of the day three years ago when his son Cullum was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on his drive back to school in Virginia.

“We’ll wake up to it every day for the rest of our lives,” said Mr. Owings, who has channeled his grief into Road Safe America, the nonprofit group he founded to promote driver safety. “We want to save others from that.”

Road Safe America recently compelled the Senate to declare this Sunday as Drive Safer Sunday. Gov. Sonny Perdue made the same declaration for Georgia.

Experts say the holidays, when millions of people cram into cars for long drives to visit family, are some of the most dangerous times of the year on the nation’s roads.

AAA predicts that 31 million people will drive 50 miles or more during Thanksgiving week, and the National Safety Council estimates that 610 people may be killed and 33,000 seriously injured in traffic crashes over the weekend.

“Thanksgiving’s the most intense travel period of the year,” said Justin McNaull, a AAA spokesman, “when you look at the sheer numbers of people taking to the skies and highways in a short period of time.”

It was Dec. 1, 2002, when Cullum Owings and his younger brother, Pierce – both students at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. – left their parents’ home in Atlanta after a Thanksgiving visit.

That night on a Virginia interstate, Cullum, a 22-year-old senior who was majoring in business and planning to join the Peace Corps, was stopped in traffic when a speeding tractor-trailer came up behind him. He tried to swerve his car into the median, but the truck barreled into the driver’s side of the vehicle, pinning Cullum’s car against an embankment.

He died before rescue workers could get him out. Pierce Owings suffered only cuts and bruises.

The truck driver was charged with reckless driving and spent a month in jail, Steve Owings said.

Georgia’s two senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, led this month’s Senate resolution declaring the day as Drive Safer Sunday. It calls on schools, clergy and law enforcement to do more to encourage safe driving.

“We must do a better job of educating all drivers to be safer on the road,” said Mr. Isakson, who as a member of the House once employed Pierce Owings as an intern.

Last year, more than 42,000 people were killed and nearly 2.8 million injured in about 6.2 million traffic crashes on United States roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition to promoting driver safety, Mr. Owings’s group is petitioning for federal rules regulating the speed of tractor-trailers.

Mr. Owings wants the government to require that speed regulators that already come on new big rigs be activated, and he would like the speed of the rigs limited to 65 miles per hour.

Mike Russell, a spokesman for the American Trucking Association, said his group supported lowering the national speed limit to 65 m.p.h. for all vehicles. But making trucks travel slower than other vehicles would increase the potential for accidents, Mr. Russell said, because more motorists would try to pass the slower tractor-trailers.

“Split speed limits are one of those proposals that more or less verify the law of unintended consequences,” he said. “While they may be put forward for good intentions, they actually cause more contact between trucks and passenger vehicles.”

Mr. Owings said he would keep working to honor his son’s memory.

“We want it done yesterday, because 15 more people will die today,” he said. “Every one of those lives is awfully precious.”