In what has been called the most “comprehensive investigation” on the effectiveness of speed limiters, a new sweeping study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, found that speed limiters (SL) equipped on large trucks results in lower crash risks for all motorists by possibly reducing collisions and mitigating the severity of collisions that do occur.
The study, which compared the crash history of 138,000 speed limiter-equipped and non-speed limiters and analyzed more than 15,000 crashes, concluded that the overall crash rate for trucks without a speed limiter was significantly higher compared to trucks equipped with an SL.
The study team included the FMCSA, the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The study — the first to use actual truck crash data collected directly from truck fleets, representing a wide array of truck crashes (from minor crashes involving a scrape on a mirror to fatal crashes) – also cites available literature on SLs both from Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
“The positive findings in this study were consistent with the bulk of the literature on this topic indicating significant safety benefits associated with speed reduction which can be achieved through the implementation of SLs,” states report.
Some key takeaways from this study include:
• Results from multiple analyses indicated a profound safety benefit for trucks equipped with an active SL.
• The cost of SL technology is negligible and is a standard feature on new trucks.
The study also addresses opposing arguments that speed differentials between cars and trucks could be correlated with increased crash risk. However, the study found that potential downside of speed deviations among is “far outweighed by the significant safety benefits associated with a reduction in absolute speed afforded by SLs.”
The study could open the door for jurisdictions to implement mandatory speed limiter rules. The American Trucking Association supports a nation-wide mandate to govern truck speed at 65 mph.
Ontario was the first province to require heavy trucks operating in the province be governed at 105 km/h.