Speed Limits Keep Highways Safe
Anybody who has driven on any North American highway knows how common the semi-trailer truck transport truck is. These semi-trailer transport trucks are ubiquitous on American roads. They can be found everywhere, in every season, and in every weather condition. These guys are not slowed down by any laws, except that they must drive at the maximum speed allowed. Truckers believe that this is a good thing. It makes it safer to drive on our roads.
It was years ago that I first heard of semi-trailers being subject to mandatory speed limits. Moving across the country meant that I had to move a boat. You can tow a boat or tow it. But I didn't own a car that had enough horsepower to transport my boat. It wouldn't only be impossible to transport it across the country but it would also be impossible to move it to the train. I decided to use a local trucking firm. They were much cheaper than trains and could take me anywhere I wanted without any additional questions.
The truck arrived at my new location with the boat on the flatbed. I had a chance to have a chat with the driver. I had many questions about these transporters, and the driver was always available to answer them.
"I don’t want to sound like an idiot," I replied, "but why are you guys passing each other so slowly along the highways?"
The driver looked at me and laughed. He understood exactly what I was talking about.
He said that trucks can't travel faster than 105km/h. "A few years ago, the governments of Quebec and Ontario enacted laws that require all trucks to use electronic speed limiters."
"So, how do you get by one another if your speed is limited?"
"Well, some trucks have more weight and so they move slower. You can see that the guys passing you are moving as fast as possible, but it's only 105. We have to pass fast and move as fast as possible because time is money in trucks.
"If time is so precious, isn't it a good thing that speed limiters are mandatory?" I asked.
It's actually been a great thing. It makes us drive more carefully, it's better for fuel economy, and also lowers our environmental impact. It saves money and makes highways safer. There were many drivers who were far too careless without speed limiters. The accidents cost owners a lot of money and even their lives. The law has been a blessing for truckers.
It turns out that it worked in Canada and Europe so well that Road Safe America and the American Trucking Association have been lobbying for similar laws in the United States. Mandatory speed limits are one example of how bureaucratic measures can impact the safety of our highways. Knowing about them can help lower blood pressure when trucks pass each other and block the fast lane on the highways.