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Electronic Speed Limit Could Curb Tractor-Trailers

Bill would hold heavy trucks to 65 mph
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 28, 2019 4:49 PM CDT
Truck and automobile traffic mix on Interstate 5, headed north through Fife, Washington, near the Port of Tacoma.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would electronically limit tractor-trailer speeds to 65 miles per hour, a move they say would save lives on the nation's highways. Sens. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, and Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, introduced the measure Thursday, saying it would take the place of a proposed Department of Transportation regulation that has "languished in the federal process" for over a decade. The majority of trucks on U.S. roads already have the speed-limiting software built in, but it's not always used. Most other countries already use it to cap truck speeds, Isakson said in a statement. The bill would require all new trucks to have speed limiters activated, and it would apply to existing trucks that already have the technology installed.

The measure also would circumvent the Trump administration's Department of Transportation, which has delayed any action on the proposed rule indefinitely as part of a retreat from regulations that the president says slow the economy. The rule, which didn't propose a top speed but said the government had studied 60, 65 and 68 mph, has been stuck since it moved through the public comment stage in November 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of the Transportation Department agencies that proposed the regulation, said Friday that it received many comments expressing concern about the analysis supporting it. When the regulation was proposed, the DOT wrote that limiting truck speeds to 65 mph would save 63 to 214 lives per year. The bill's sponsors say that there are 1,115 fatal crashes every year involving heavy trucks on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher.

(Read more speed limit stories.)

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