US Government Moves to Electronically Limit Truck Speeds
It gets worse; the American Truck Association wants to electronically limit speed on every vehicle
In the land of the law that is known as the U.S., lawmakers make laws, and the sheep are supposed to herd together and follow the rules like good little sheeple. But, what happens when the sheeple don’t listen? The wolves come to crack the whip and put us little folk back into our place. Okay, admittedly that’s a little dramatic for this situation, but in a weird kind of way, it fits in with a new proposal brought forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposal, in short, looks to place an electronic speed limiter – you know, those things that keep just about every BMW worth having under 155 mph – on every large, multipurpose vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds.
For those of you who haven’t made it through your first cup of coffee yet, that means buses, semi-trucks, and the like. Here’s the real kicker, though. So far, the DOT doesn’t know what speed it wants to limit these vehicles to and is reportedly waiting on public response to make its decision. Speeds being considered are 68 mph, 65 mph, and even 60 mph. So, in the near future, we could have even slower moving trucks bottlenecking the flow of faster, smaller vehicles.
Despite the fact that this could cause serious problems with traffic flow in some areas, the reasoning behind this proposal is to increase safety on the road and reduce the use of fuel and emissions output from said vehicles. According to Trucks.com, the American Trucking Association is even on board, and to make matters worse, the ATA believes that all vehicles – including small passenger cars like your BMW 5 Series and your wife’s Honda Civic – should be electronically capped at 65 mph. Some safety groups are even lobbying for a cap of 60 mph.
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Why it Matters
Here in the U.S., most trucks are legally required to go slower than your everyday Ford F150 or Toyota Camry. In Michigan, the traditional speed limit is 70 mph for cars and 65 mph for semi-trucks, buses, and the like. In some states, those speed limits are dropped to 65 mph and 60 mph, respectively. Be that as it may, it seems as if more people break the speed limit than not, but is electronically limiting the speed of our vehicles going too far? Some say yes, while others seem to think it’s a good idea. For the record, a lot of vehicles already come with a speed limited intact. Most German vehicles, like BMW and Mercedes, come from the factory limited at 155 mph. The 1991 Pontiac Grand Prix in my driveway was limited at 123 mph until I purchased a tuned ECM for it. Some newer GM pickup trucks can’t break 110 mph. But, forcefully keeping us below 70 mph seems like a bit of a stretch.
One could argue that the German Autobahn shows that higher speeds don’t necessarily lead to more dangerous conditions. Then again, people on the Autobahn understand the concept of using the left lanes for passing only – something that about 98 percent of American drivers just can’t grasp. Well, that and the proper use of turn signals, but we’ll save that argument for another day. Either way, this proposal could represent another step in the removal of our freedoms as Americans.
Even though there are speed limits set into place in most places, we have the freedom to choose whether or not we abide by the law. When we don’t, we risk paying a hefty fine or worse, depending on how badly the law is violated. But, we still have the freedom of choice. This new proposal is the first step in taking away that choice, and if the ATA has its way, it will bleed down to our four-wheeled family mobiles too. What’s your take on this proposal? Is it a good thing, or is it bad? Check out the full text of the proposal here, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Source: Fleet Owner