U.S. push­ing lower speeds on trucks, buses

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Tom Krisher

DETROIT — The U.S. is seek­ing to limit how fast trucks, buses and other large ve­hi­cles can travel on the na­tion’s high­ways.

A new pro­posal Fri­day would im­pose a na­tion­wide limit by elec­tron­i­cally cap­ping speeds with a de­vice on new U.S. ve­hi­cles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds.

Reg­u­la­tors are con­sid­er­ing a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph.

Driv­ers would be phys­i­cally pre­vented from ex­ceed­ing it. The pro­posal, which comes from the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Fed­eral Mo­tor Car­rier Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, does not force older heavy ve­hi­cles to add the speed-lim­it­ing tech­nol­ogy, but the reg­u­la­tors are still con­sid­er­ing it.

The govern­ment said cap­ping speeds for new large ve­hi­cles will re­duce the 1,115 fa­tal crashes in­volv­ing heavy trucks that oc­cur each year and save $1 bil­lion in fuel costs.

Many truck­ers said such changes could lead to dan­ger­ous sce­nar­ios where they are trav­el­ing at lower speeds than every­one else.

The rule has been en­snared in a reg­u­la­tory maze in the decade since the non­profit group Road­safe Amer­ica is­sued its first pe­ti­tion in 2006. The group was founded by At­lanta fi­nan­cial ad­viser Steve Owings and his wife, Su­san, whose son Cul­lum was killed by a speed­ing trac­tor- trailer dur­ing a trip back to school in Vir­ginia af­ter Thanks­giv­ing in 2002.

The non­profit was later joined by the Amer­i­can Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tions, the na­tion’s largest truck­ing in­dus­try group.

Owings said he will con­tinue to push NHTSA to force older heavy ve­hi­cles to limit their speeds.

NHTSA said retrofitting ve­hi­cles made af­ter 1990 with the speed-lim­it­ing tech­nol­ogy could be too costly, and it is still seek­ing com­ments and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.

TED S. WAR­REN/AP

A plan would im­pose a limit by elec­tron­i­cally cap­ping speeds on new U.S. ve­hi­cles weigh­ing over 26,000 pounds.

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