Truckers warn electronic speed limiters will cause crashes

semi-trucks on Highway 85 in North Dakota
In this March 23, 2012 photo, semi-trucks drive north on Highway 85 south of Williston, N.D. (AP Photo/Elijah Nouvelage)

DETROIT (AP) — Truckers are warning that a government plan to electronically limit the speed of tractor-trailers will lead to highway traffic jams and possibly an increase in deadly run-ins with cars.

The government has proposed requiring electronic speed limiters on all trucks and buses over 26,000 pounds manufactured after the regulation goes into effect. Speeds could be limited to 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour when the rule is finalized after a comment period that ends Nov. 7.

Regulators say the rule is supported by simple physics: If trucks travel slower, the impact of a crash will be less severe and fewer people will be injured or killed.

Opponents say that ignores the dynamic of trucks and cars traveling at different speeds. Truckers argue that slowing them down increases the chances of trucks being hit from behind by cars going 70 mph or more.

More than 150 people, most identifying themselves as independent truckers, have filed comments with the government about the proposed rule. Only a few comments were in favor.

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