By Rob Abbott
Vice President of Safety Policy
American Trucking Associations
This Opinion piece appears in the April 9 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Each year, the Department of Transportation undertakes a number of new initiatives to further reduce or eliminate highway crashes. One measure DOT has announced it will undertake this year will have a marked effect on highway safety: mandating that speed limiters on large trucks be set at a reasonable top speed.
A quick review of available safety data confirms that the single greatest contributor to highway crashes is vehicle speed. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2009, for instance, driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limits by the truck driver were factors in 13.9% of single-vehicle crashes and 5.9% of multiple-vehicle crashes that resulted in a fatality — more than any other factor.