The federal government should expedite plans to require speed limiters on large trucks and extend the requirement to medium-duty trucks, IIHS urged in a recent regulatory comment.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requested comments on a proposal to require devices that limit the top speed on commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 26,000 pounds. A specific top speed would be determined later in the rulemaking process.
Excessive speed was a factor in nearly a third of all U.S. crash deaths in 2020. But limiting speed is especially important for large trucks, Eric Teoh, IIHS director of statistical services, wrote in the comment.
Because of their greater mass, trucks have more momentum and thus require longer stopping distances than smaller vehicles. They also do more damage in the event of a crash. This is true not only for the largest tractor-trailers but also for class 3-6 trucks, which weigh 10,001-26,000 pounds when they are loaded to capacity.
The problem has only grown more urgent since FMCSA began discussing speed limiters more than a decade ago, Teoh pointed out. Many states have raised their maximum speed limits considerably, and the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a burst in speeding and associated crash deaths.