Big rigs are 1% of vehicles but cause 18% of fatal crashes
Each year the carnage on American roadways caused by speeding big-rigs is staggering – more than 1,000 people are killed and more than 20,000 are injured. And for years, there’s been talk but no action about requiring common-sense safety measures like using speed limiters in trucks – a measure other advanced nations implemented years ago with great success.
Now, after a decade of wrangling, the Department of Transportation has proposed a speed limiter rule, but the enforcement would only apply to new trucks. Incredibly, this is despite the fact that the majority of existing tractor-trailers on the highway already have the speed-limiting technology built into their systems. It only has to be turned on.
The comment period for the public to be heard on this issue has begun and Road Safe America strongly urges all drivers to demand the speed limiter rule apply to all existing tractor-trailers with the capability on our nation’s highways now.
“The government has an immediate opportunity to significantly reduce these horrific crashes on our highways. They are missing it either out of ignorance about the technology already in trucks, or because they are too far removed from the devastating impact of these accidents to care, or both,” said Steve Owings, co-founder ofRoad Safe America (RSA), a non-profit organization designed to improve truck safety and save lives. “Electronic speed governors have been built into heavy commercial trucks for two decades, so there is absolutely no reason why this new rule shouldn’t be mandated for those big-rigs. We’re not the only ones who want change. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) also supports the use of speed limiters in these trucks.”
Every driver knows the fear of a big-rig blowing past him or her at excessive speeds. The statistics prove that lives and money will be saved by slowing down speeding big-rigs:
- These size trucks only represent about one percent of all vehicles on American roads, yet 18 percent of fatal, multi-vehicle crashes involve big-rigs.
- The number of crashes involving heavy commercial trucks has increased 44 percent since 2009.
- A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study concluded that trucks not limited by speed governors were in twice as many high-speed collisions as those with the technology activated.
- A FMCSA report found that 40.3 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2014 were at speeds of 60 mph or higher.
- The United States lags behind the rest of the technologically advanced world in this area. The European Union countries, Japan, Australia and the most populous Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) all require speed governors to be set on heavy commercial vehicles at speeds varying from 55 mph in Japanto 65 mph in Canada. A recent report from Ontario states that big-rig fatal crashes reduced 24 percent after they began requiring settings of 65mph.
- Since the 1990’s, speed governors have been built into big-rigs during the manufacturing process as standard capability, thus there is no capital expense required to make vehicles compliant.
- The use of the speed governors enhances profit for the trucking industry. By reducing speed, the average fuel consumption in heavy commercial trucks is reduced. In addition, fewer crashes mean trucking companies can minimize legal costs and often achieve safety records that result in lower insurance premiums. They also save maintenance expenses as brakes and tires last longer due to common-sense speed limitations.
During the current 60-day comment period, which began Sept. 7, 2016, Road Safe America is encouraging all citizens to contact their representatives in Congress to make their voices heard. Citizens should also comment on the rule to USDOT by visiting regulations.gov. Let them know that you want this common-sense rule to apply to existing commercial trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds, not just new vehicles. Both of these actions can be done easily via links provided at roadsafeamerica.org.
“It’s foolish and utterly wasteful not to use existing technology to save thousands of lives,” said Owings. “Think about this: A fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds, traveling under ideal conditions at a speed of 65 mph, will take 525 feet to stop in an emergency- almost the length of two football fields, much further than a car needs from that speed. A speeding big-rig is by definition out of control. The faster they go, the further this stopping differential becomes. We ask that every American join the fight to prevent speeding by big-rigs. You could be saving the life of a family member or close friend.”
About Road Safe America
Road Safe America (RSA) is dedicated to reducing the injuries and deaths resulting from collisions between tractor-trailer trucks and passenger vehicles by effecting change to improve safety on America’s roadways. RSA is supported by private donations and has no financial ties to any part of the transportation industry. The non-profit organization is not anti-truck or anti-trucker, but pro-safety. Steve Owings and his wife, Susan, founded Road Safe America in 2003 after their son, Cullum, was killed when his car – stopped in an interstate traffic jam – was crushed from behind by a speeding tractor-trailer going well above the posted speed limit on cruise control. Since that tragic event, Steve and Susan, through Road Safe America, have worked to make our highways safer for all travelers. – PRNewswire