Government wants to lower speed limit for trucks and buses

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Government agencies want to forcibly lower how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles travel on the nations highways. They’re hoping it would reduce fatal crashes involving heavy trucks.

KSN talked to local truck drivers about the proposal.

A proposal to reduce speed limits for truck drivers that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph, though that could change. It has some unsure why.

“I don’t think it’ll help that much because there are people out there, always in a hurry these days,”

The proposal comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

George Weinerich says he’s been driving trucks for more than 40 years and said those who drive for a living have to drive safe, if they want to keep driving. But, he often worries about other drivers who may not know how much room to give rigs.

“People today do not know how to drive in traffic with tractor trailers. They aren’t taught that,” Weinerich said.

The government said by reducing speeds for new larger vehicles, it could help reduce the number of fatal crashes involving heavy trucks. Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety administration said by limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph, there could be as many as 498 lives saved annually. Limiting it to 65 mph could save as many as 214 lives, where limiting it to 68 mph could save as many as 96 lives.

“It may reduce it some. The statistics you showed me was a little over 1,100,” Weinerich said. “I don’t know if it’ll be that great because it’s been proven truck/car collisions, most of them are caused by the car.”

The proposal said only new vehicles would be regulated, but those built after 1990 would be exempt, in the proposal so far. The NHTSA said modifying vehicles made after 1990 with the speed-limiting technology could be too costly.

For Weinerich, he just hopes. regulations or not, drivers will be more cautious around trucks.

“I was taught to drive as far as you could see in front of you. And I try to do that everyday,” said Weinerich.

The government agencies involved will take public comment for 60 days, then determine the final limit and decide if the regulation should be put in place.

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