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Federal proposal would require speed controls on semi trucks

Mar 9, 2007 | USA Today Federal transportation officials are weighing a proposal to require devices on commercial trucks that would limit their top speeds to 68 mph. The idea is supported by many large trucking companies and opposed by many smaller, independent carriers.
The campaign to equip semis with the speed controls is led by Road Safe America, an advocacy group founded by an Atlanta couple whose son died in a 2002 accident involving a big rig.

Steve Owings launched the group after his 22-year-old son, Cullum, was killed when the car he was driving was struck by a semitrailer truck in Rockbridge County, Va.

About 5,000 people die each year in accidents involving commercial trucks.

Owings petitioned the federal government to require the speed devices on commercial semis. He was joined by the American Trucking Association, which represents about 40,000 trucking companies and nine individual firms.

The Department of Transportation is accepting public comments on the proposal until March 27. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have the final say.

Speed controls will turn big trucks into "rolling roadblocks," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. "That will force other vehicles to try to pass them. Cars are three times more likely to run into the back of trucks than the other way around."

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