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Recent Reports Have NHTSA Vowing to Take Action on Truck Speeds

Anyone undertaking a cross-country road trip will likely be amazed by not just the changing landscape and regional landmarks, but also by the great disparity concerning speed limits.

That’s because 14 states currently have speed limits ranging from 75 miles-per-hour all the way to an astounding 85 miles-per-hour.

While these higher speed limits can typically be found on rural highways where the volume of traffic is considerably lower, it nevertheless goes without saying that they do present something of a safety concern and, as demonstrated by recent research, this is especially true in relation to trucks.

Recently, the Associated Press published a fascinating piece discussing how a recent investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into tire failures on big rigs uncovered that the blowouts in question were likely caused by speeding.

Specifically, the AP’s investigation determined that the tires found on America’s trucks aren’t built to go faster than 75 miles-per-hour and that when this speed is consistently exceeded, it can result in internal heat buildup followed by catastrophic tire failure.

This shocking discovery was made all the more shocking by the revelation that many of the states with higher speed limits failed to even discuss the safety risk with tire manufacturers before increasing speed limits.

As alarming as this is, it’s important to remember two things. First, no fatal truck crashes have yet been traced to blowouts caused by truckers exceeding the rated speed on their tires. Second, the issue is on the NHTSA’s radar.

Indeed, the newly appointed head of the NHTSA recently indicated that his agency is aware of the safety threat posed by the discrepancy between speed limits and rated tire speeds, and is actively taking steps to see this problem resolved.

Specifically, he stated that the NHTSA is now ramping up its efforts to see a long promised regulation mandating speed limiters that prevent trucks from traveling over 75 mph become a reality.

While it remains unclear how this regulation, which has the support of American Trucking Associations, would be implemented, it’s nevertheless encouraging to see the NHTSA taking the matter very seriously.