The Department of Transportation is proposing a series of new rules for heavy trucks and their operators, starting this fall. Most of the rules relate directly to driver safety, such as increasing the amount of liability insurance required for carriers and changing the way drug testing results are tracked. One rule, which could be formally proposed as early as the winter of 2015, would require the use of speed limiters on heavy trucks. The speed limiter rule would apply to trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds, although there is no word yet on what the required limitation would be.
The rule comes out of a request by the American Trucking Associations and Roadsafe America, and has received much public support. Every year, an estimated 1,115 people die in crashes involving trucks in the relevant weight class. How many of these crashes happened because the truck driver was speeding is not clear, but high speed does make driving much more dangerous. The hope is the new regulation will save lives.
Speed limiters, or governors, work by automatically reducing engine efficiency once the vehicle reaches a set speed, so that it cannot go any faster. Manufacturers often use them, not to enforce the law, but to prevent the driver from pushing the car, or its tires, past their mechanical limits. Most trucks already have speed limiters, so complying with the new rule will require only resetting existing equipment, not installing anything new.
However, a determined driver can usually find ways to disable limiters. And, no matter how low the set limit is, there will still be room for drivers to go faster than conditions warrant. Obviously, if a driver makes a habit of going too fast, his or her employer needs to know.
GPS software safety feature can give fleet managers the tools they need to keep their businesses operating safely. These features not only keep track of vehicle speed and the speed limit of the roads the vehicle travels over, but can notify the user if a driver does something unsafe. Besides speeding, GPS software can also identify unsafe turning and braking and whether the driver stops at stop signs.
The user can then review each instance of unsafe behavior individually, or look for patterns. For example, Teletrac's Safety Analytics feature can identify which driver, or which group of drivers, have the lowest safety scores over time. Having this information available translates into better employee education and coaching, more targeted discipline, and better fleet management overall. And that keeps everybody on the roads safer.