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Truckers not too keen on raising speed limits

Posted on February 27th, by Ted Hogan in Trucking News. Comments Off

States across the country – including most recently New Hampshire and Idaho – are considering raising the speed limit for commercial trucks on the highway. The proposals have been met with mixed responses from truck drivers and trucking carriers, but for some the change won’t have any impact because of speed limits already imposed by individual carriers.

In Idaho a proposed bill would increase interstate truck speed limits from 65 to 75 mph, which is the current limit for cars. The state’s current truck speed limit on freeways is 65 mph. In New Hampshire a bill would increase the speed limit to 70 mph from 65 mph on interstates. Similar proposals have been made in many other states across the nation.

However, many commercial truck carriers already impose speed limits on their drivers and some have installed governors on their trucks to limit speeds at 65 mph.

“Companies have decided that 65 is more economical,” David Horton, a trucking carrier saidinaJournalNewsarticlerecently. “It’s a lot more economical. You get half a mile less per gallon roughly from 65 to 70. And when you’re talking 300 gallons every time you fill your truck, it amounts to a good piece of money.”

However, Horton said he can see a value in raising the trucking speed limit to match cars for some carriers that decide a faster speed would be beneficial.

“We supported the speed change (from 55 mph) to 65 (in 2009) because it made everybody run the same limit,” Horton said. “We feel that all the vehicles ought to go the same speed, whatever that speed is, so you aren’t having them cut in and out like you do when you have differential speed limits.”

Trucking carriers have been consistent in their opposition to raising the speed limit for cars as speeds of higher than 70 mph can make it difficult for trucks to merge onto highways. The safety statistics for the commercial trucking industry have consistently gone down over the past several years and carriers would like to continue that trend.

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