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Speed Limiters Found to Increase Truck Safety

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA), large trucks equipped with speed limiters see a much lower number of crashes and maintain a lower crash risk than those not equipped with speed limiters.  The risk of crashes for all motorists is reduced, and the collisions that do occur tend to be much less severe.  The FMCSA conducted a study on the crash history of 138,000 trucks, some of which were equipped with speed limiters and some of which were not.  They investigated more than 15,000 crashes, and saw that the trucks without speed limiters saw a significantly higher risk of crashes than those trucks which were equipped with an SL.

Speed limiters help to prevent serious accidents.

In addition to the FMCSA, the study also included results from the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.  Results indicated that trucks which had an active speed limiter onboard were considered to be much safer and that the impact of the SL on truck safety was immense.  The costs of installing an SL on a truck seem minimal, particularly given the advantage it gives.  Most new trucks do come equipped with this technology.

Speed Limiters

Although speed differentials between trucks and cars do impact crash risk greatly, the study showed that safety benefits offered by SLs were far more significant.  The FMCSA and other organizations are hoping that studies like the one they performed could help to pave the way for legislation about speed limiters and other technology which may help increase truck safety.  The ATA (American Trucking Association) agrees and supports a mandate to limit truck speed across the country to reasonable levels (65 mph.)

Genesis of the Study

The ATA was the agency that requested the study, wanting to show how important speed limiters could be, particularly on commercial and heavy duty trucks.  Speed, defined as driving over posted limits or too fast for conditions, was found to have been at least partially responsible for 8% of large truck crashes that were reported.  At least 23% of large truck accidents were partially caused by driving too fast for conditions.  By reducing speed, the energy created by collisions is also reduced, and this dramatically impacts the seriousness of crashes.  The lower the kinetic energy levels, the lower potential damage the impact will cost.  The speed limiters, programmed with a maximum speed, also help to increase break and engine life and reduce wear on tires.


However, some people oppose speed limiters, because they believe the devices can be flawed when speed may be necessary to avoid accidents.  Allowing drivers to speed up to pass vehicles when traffic is heavy, or creating a big difference in speed between trucks and passenger vehicles, are usually the concerns of those who are not in favor of the devices.  In spite of these concerns, most agree that any potential dangers in using speed limiters are outweighed by the benefits.  The devices are now included standard on most large vehicles.


Using speed limiters to reduce the speed of semi-trucks is likely to reduce the severity and frequency of crashes, though this alone will not eliminate crashes.  However, it should be a positive step in reducing crashes.  Some believe that speed limiters may decrease the likelihood of crashes by as much as 50% as compared with trucks not equipped with speed limiters.

While improvements to vehicle safety benefit not only the vehicle owners, but others on the public roadways, accidents will never be entirely eliminated. Additionally, devices will never take the place of proper training and safe driving habits. It is important for all, semi-truck owners as well as compact car owners, to have an adequate insurance policy to protect against financial loss. Compare car insurance quotes to find the most affordable auto insurance policy that suits your unique needs.

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