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Why the trucking industry may soon become safer

Earlier this month, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that the agency will be seeking swift action on the matter of electronic speed limiters for the nation's large commercial trucks. This is an important safety development, given how destructive big rigs can be when they are traveling above a reasonable speed.

In addition, the NHTSA is considering working with certain states to address speed limit issues which affect truck safety. Specifically, the agency is concerned that certain speed limits exceed the threshold beyond which large commercial truck tires remain safe. These large tires are only designed to handle use at certain speeds. When trucks are regularly allowed to exceed those speeds in certain states, their tires can become compromised and can lead to devastating accidents.

According to The Associated Press, large commercial truck tires are only tested and designed to be utilized at speeds of 75 mph and under. A surprising number of states now allow for speed limits of 75 mph and above. Given that many drivers regularly drive up to 10 mph over any given speed limit without consequence indicates how common the practice of driving above the safe range for tire use has become.

The fact that the NHTSA is working to address these major safety issues is certainly a welcome development. Although the trucking industry will likely resist the concept of speed limiters and slower speed limits for truckers in certain states, the majority of the population will benefit from safer highways nationwide if these efforts are successful.

Source: Associated Press, "Safety chief wants to cap big rig speeds to fix tire problem," Meghan Barr and Tom Krisher, April 9, 2015

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