Fleet companies and government regulators are often looking for ways to keep their drivers and the motorists with whom they share the roads safer. One way in which fleet companies attempt to do this is by equipping their trucks with speed governors.
Many proponents of speed governors argue that these devices are key to making truckers safer, but do they actually work?
What do speed governors do?
Speed limiters (or governors) are electronically controlled modules (ECMs) that prevent vehicles from traveling faster than a certain pre-set maximum speed, such as 65 mph.
Why are speed governors important?
Average-sized cars are no match for large vehicles when crashes occur. If a smaller vehicle collides with a semitruck, the passengers and drivers in the smaller vehicles are much more likely to lose their lives. Thus, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and safety groups advocate for fleet companies to install speed governors on all large carriers to enhance trucker safety.
But do these governors have positive effects on safer trucking?
Studies have not shown that the use of speed limiters reduces traffic accidents. In fact, researchers argue that speed variance remains a major cause of auto collisions.
Research shows that drivers who deviate from the average driving speed have higher traffic accident rates than those who don’t. Another way of conceptualizing this situation is that the slower or faster a vehicle travels in contrast to the normal flow of traffic, the greater its chances of being involved in a collision.
Critics of speed limiters argue that even though 21% of fatal large truck crashes are due to speed or driving too fast for the conditions, governors aren’t an effective deterrent. They argue that truck drivers tend to speed in slower zone areas to make up for the time they lose in restricted speed areas. They do this because a five-mile speed reduction can cost a truck driver 50-55 miles per day in drive time.
Know your options if a speeding trucker strikes you
Driving is inherently dangerous. Speeding and other reckless driving behaviors can maim or kill. You might need to recover compensation to cover current and future medical bills if you were involved in an accident with a trucker.