On Tuesday, lawmakers introduced legislation in the House pushing for speed limiters on heavy duty trucks.
On May 25, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. John Katko introduced the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act which would “codify into law a “speed limiter” rule that has been under consideration for more than a decade.”
The text of the bill is not yet available, but similar legislation introduced under the same name in 2019 proposed requiring speed limiter technology that would limit commercial vehicles to 65 m.p.h., or 70 m.p.h. with the use of an adaptive cruise control system and an automatic emergency braking system. The legislation was introduced by former Senator Johnny Isakson.
Lawmakers say that the bill is named in honor of a 22 year old Atlanta man, Cullum Owings, who was killed in a car-truck collision in 2002 while returning to college.
“The safety and security of our families, our friends, and our loved ones is always of the utmost priority,” said McBath. “The Owings family has done so much to protect other children like Cullum and I want to thank them for all they have done. No family in America should ever have to experience the same pain of losing a loved one so needlessly. This is an important, bipartisan step to make our roadways safer, protect drivers, and stop these heartbreaking crashes from happening.”
“Our lives changed forever in the worst of ways after a speeding truck driver using cruise control crashed into our son’s car, stopped in an interstate traffic jam, as he headed back to college after Thanksgiving break” said Steve Owings, Co-founder of Road Safe America.“Back then, Susan and I were completely unaware that most large trucks already had speed limiter technology built in, which could have saved our son’s life had it been used. We are so thankful to Congresswoman McBath for understanding the grief of losing a child and for introducing the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act to ensure other families do not suffer the same needless loss we deal with every day because of speeding big rigs.”
Earlier this year, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in partnership with safety group Road Safe America, sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling for transportation officials to enact a rule requiring speed limiter devices on all vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. The ATA also suggested mandated speed limits of 60 m.p.h., 65 m.p.h. or 68 m.p.h. for vehicles with speed limiters.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposes any attempt to require speed limiters, arguing that they “increase congestion and speed differentials between trucks and cars, which ultimately lead to more crashes. Additionally, arbitrary speed limits make it difficult for truck drivers to switch lanes to accommodate merging traffic at entrance ramps – or to merge themselves.”
OOIDA also says that speed limiters give an unfair advantage to larger carriers over small business truckers.