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Will Truck Speed Limiters Reduce Accident Fatalities?
It might not be long before all big rigs and other large commercial vehicles come equipped with technology that limits their speed to no more than 68 miles an hour. But how much of an effect will this technology have on highway safety?
An Encouraging Precedent
In Canada, all large trucks operating in the Quebec and Ontario provinces must be equipped with speed limiters. This mandate, which has been in effect since 2009, has had a substantial impact on decreasing fatalities in truck-related accidents. In fact, safety advocates claim that fatalities have dropped by 24 percent since the mandate.
How Speed Limiters Work
Approximately 70 percent of trucks on U.S. highways already have speed limiting technology. Eventually, 100 percent of them will have the equipment if the proposal is ultimately made into law.
A speed limiter has electronic sensors that relay a vehicles speed to the engine’s computer. If the speed goes to a preset maximum level, the computer will automatically reduce the amount of fuel and air that get to the engine.
Speed Limiter Benefits
There are several benefits to speed limiting technology for both motorists as well as trucking companies. Here are just a few of them.
- Fuel Mileage Improvements — When trucks go travel at slower speeds they get better fuel mileage.
- Lowered Maintenance and Repair Costs — Large vehicles that travel faster tend to need repairs on a more frequent basis. Also, if trucks travel faster than their tires can handle, damage can occur due to heat buildup. This, of course, also increases the risk of a potentially devastating blowout.
- Insurance Savings — The fewer accidents that trucks are involved in, the lower trucking company insurance premiums will be.
- Increased Safety — Excessive speed is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. By lowering speeds, safety advocates say there will be fewer accidents, leading to fewer fatalities, injuries and property damage.