This Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Report isn’t new but we thought anyone who missed it should take a good long look. Especially if you’re a trucker or in the trucking industry because it found  that trucks equipped with speed limiters had a 50% lower crash rate than trucks without speed limiters. You might not know this, but excessive speed is a contributing factor in something like 8% of all truck crashes and another FMCSA study, on Large Truck Crash Causation, revealed that 22.9% of all large truck crashes and 10.4% of large truck vs. passenger car crashes were caused by “traveling too fast for conditions.”

The newer study was requested by the FMCSA’s Office of Analysis, Research and Technology and was conducted by Fryeburg, Maine’s MaineWay Services. More importantly, it represents the most comprehensive investigation that has ever been conducted re the use of speed limiters, at least according to the FMCSA. And it was the first study of its kind to use actual truck crash data directly collected from 20 trucking fleets, representing a wide array of crashes and collision types. Further, the researchers used data from more than 150,000 trucks that had been involved in more than 28,000 crashes–approximately 15% of which were identified for by study as speed limiter relevant.

Here’s What the Study Found

  • Indicated profound safety benefits for active speed limiter equipped trucks.
  • Indicated that costs of fitting trucks with speed limiter tech would be negligible.
  • That the speed limiter-relevant crash rate for long haul trucks without speed limiters was five crashes per 100 trucks per year compared to 1.4 crashes per 100 trucks per year for trucks with a speed limiter.
  • That the overall crash rate for trucks without speed limiters was higher compared to large trucks equipped with speed limiters — 16.4 crashes per 100 trucks per year for trucks without a speed limiter versus 11 crashes per 100 trucks per year for trucks with speed limiters.

Pros and Cons

Of course, the FMCSA mandating that truckers and trucking fleets have speed limiting software installed in their trucks could potentially have both a positive and negative impact. Positive in that if the report’s findings are accurate, the industry-wide adoption of speed limiting software would help reduce accidents involving long-haul trucks. But negative in that adoption of its conclusions would inevitably result in cargo transport time delays and slower traffic flows in general as the slower speed of equipped limiter vehicles (relative to the surrounding traffic) would result in a traffic congesting speed differential.

Cross Country Vehicle Movers like Montway would of course be covered by any new trucking fleet equipment requirement, and so we can say from experience that any factor that might slow our fleet down or cost transporters more might not be a good idea. We’re not sure how this will all play out, but we’ll keep an eye out and let you know how everything rolls.