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New federal truck speed limiter rule will be in place by fall

Some things we have control over. Some things we do not. Encountering and avoiding semitrailer trucks while driving on Texas highways is something we can control. And as we noted in a post in February, considering the many blind spots around big rigs, it makes good sense to keep as much distance from them as possible to prevent getting caught in a deadly accident.

In recent weeks, another issue has been making headlines related to the risk that tractor-trailer trucks may pose to highway safety. It has to do with their tires. Most of them aren't designed to be driven at speeds higher than 75 mph. Yet in 14 states, including Texas, some stretches of road allow trucks to go as fast as 85 mph.

Tire failure is cited as a common factor in many accidents. And federal data indicates that many of those failures appear to have happened because they weren't properly maintained or were driven at too high a speed. Indeed, the American Trucking Association says government numbers indicate that excessive speed was the primary cause of 18 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks.

That might all change before the end of the year if the Department of Transportation gets its way. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx told members of Congress last month that a rule requiring speed governors on all heavy trucks will be in place by sometime this fall.

It's not clear what the top limit might be set at under the new rule, but the ATA says it's pressing for 65 mph. The industry group says that mandated limiters should not only slow down trucks but slow traffic in general, improving safety for everyone.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association objects. It says mandating limiters will turn trucks into rolling roadblocks, promoting road rage and having no benefit whatever.

What do you think?

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