STATEMENT OF STEVE OWINGS, CO-FOUNDER OF ROAD SAFE AMERICA

ON NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR HEAVY VEHICLE SPEED GOVERNORS

ATLANTA, GA (August 29, 2016) – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finally released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Heavy Vehicle Speed Governor rule, almost 10 years after we initially filed our petition. Susan and I, as well as everyone involved with Road Safe America (RSA), are outraged that these agencies are only applying the proposed rule of setting speed governors to new large trucks manufactured in the future.

As RSA has long maintained, mandating the use of this technology by big-rigs made since the early 1990’s, when the capabilities began coming standard on all of them, would save lives in a cost-effective manner. These trucks, made during the past 20+ years, already have speed governor software, which is why it so frustrating that the agencies failed to produce a rule that applies to all of those trucks, rather than just new ones. If this stands, this life-saving capability will remain unused, as many motor carriers and truckers will continue to not set them, because they are not required to by law.

RSA is terribly disappointed with the extent to which the agencies are blunting the potential safety benefits of the heavy vehicle speed governor rule. We will work to improve this regulation and also work on mandating other technologies, like automatic emergency braking.  We encourage all citizens to ask their representatives in Congress to demand that this common-sense rule applies to all big-rigs weighing over 26,000 pounds that already have the capability.

###

SPEED GOVERNOR FACTS:

  • Speed governing is a software capability that must simply be programmed “on” and set at a top speed to be working.
  • This has been a standard capability since the early 1990’s on all class 7 & 8 trucks (according to the American Trucking Associations).
  • The reason this became standard is that so many leading countries already required that they be used even back then.
  • The United States is the only leading nation on Earth without such a rule.
  • The American Trucking Associations joined our effort calling for this to apply to existing trucks with the capability already there as well as new ones.
  • Nearly all trucking associations agree with this (all but one).
  • All safety advocates are calling for this to apply to existing and new tractor-trailers.
  • Ontario just published the safety effect of requiring speed governors set at 65 mph for such trucks:  The total number of crashes involving big-rigs dropped by 24%!
  • In the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, speed was the most often cited contributing factor when a heavy truck was seen as contributing to the crash causes.
  • The FMCSA’s study of speed governor use published a few years ago concluded that trucks without their top speeds limited were in twice as many highway-speed collisions as those with them set.
  • The number of crashes in the U.S. involving commercial trucks has increased 44% since 2009.