Cullum Owings Act Proposes to Limit Truck Driving Speeds News

Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act Proposes to Limit Truck Driving Speeds

08.13.2019 - 11:30 AM Comments: 0

A new bi-partisan bill is currently on the Senate floor that would mandate all-new Class 7 and Class 8 trucks to have speed-limiting devices so that trucks can never exceed 65 miles per hour. This bill would also extend this speed maximum to all existing trucks that already have speed limiters. The only type of trucks this legislation would not apply to are trucks that have no speed limiters, to begin with. 

This bill called the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 introduced by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Chris Coons (D-DE), stated that it would serve as “a lifesaving road safety measure for heavy trucks by codifying a pending ‘speed limiter’ rule that has languished in the federal bureaucratic process for 10 years.” 

It is being said  that “the majority of trucks on our roads already  have speed-limiting technology built-in, and the rest of the technologically advanced world has already put them to use to ensure drivers follow safe speeds,” and that it would officially enforce a long-awaited speed limit of 65 mph on large trucks and reduce the number of preventable fatalities on our busy roadways.”

This bill has been supported by different highway-safety advocacy groups, such as Road Safe America, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Trucking Alliance, the Truckload Carriers Association, and the Truck Safety Coalition. This bill was first introduced in 2011 but has been delayed more than 20 times since then. 

The bill is named after Cullum Owings who was killed on his way back to college with his brother Pierce after spending Thanksgiving at home. Parents were forever heartbroken. Mr. Steve Owings, Cullum’s father and founder of Road Safe America, says that “at the time, we were unaware that speed limiters were already being built into big-rig trucks as a standard capability, but American truck drivers were not required to use them. Once we learned that this technology, which could have saved our son, was available and in use by many leading U.S. companies, we founded Road Safe America to educate the public and change things like this.”

Meanwhile, Lane Kidd, director of the Trucking Alliance, asserts that this bill is “consistent with our mission to support safety measures that can reduce large truck crash fatalities.” Kidd also states that “Most fleets already operate with speed limiters set between 62 and 68 mph, so 65 mph will be a reasonable maximum,” he continued. “Of course, drivers may go at slower speeds. Older trucks will not be required to retrofit, but to simply abide by the maximum speed safety standard.” Finally, Kidd states that there is “no reason for an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer to drive more than 65 miles per hour on our freeways“.

However, not everyone is so supportive of the bill. While advocates say that this bill can help save some of the lives of the 140,000 on average of people who die in trucking accidents per year, others say that lowering the speed limit won’t do anything to increase safety. Instead, as one driver argues, it can have the opposite effect: “Cars traveling 75-80 mph and trucks going 65 will certainly cause rear-end collisions.” Another driver believes that the bill is a “big mistake. Citizens already speed around the truck that goes slower than the posted speed, and the max speed limit is not the same in most states. That would make trucks a hazard on the highway. Send some of those lawmakers out on a road trip for a week or two with some of the truck drivers that are governed down and see what the drivers deal with every day. Then make your ruling.” Still, another truck driver believes that safety lies in the hands of cars, not trucks, saying that “As long as cars cut off trucks there will always be wrecks no matter how slow you make us go.” 

So, what do you think about this new law? Do you ardently support it or vehemently oppose it? Let us know in the comments below! 

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