ATRI releases early speed-governor findings

March 27, 2007
According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), its preliminary report on an ongoing study of speed governors indicates data is insufficient to make a strong claim about the relationship between fleet size and governor use

According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), its preliminary report on an ongoing study of speed governors indicates data is insufficient to make a strong claim about the relationship between fleet size and governor use. On top of that, there were no statistical relationships seen between industry segment and governor use.

Interestingly, 15% of the respondents that use speed governors allowed speed settings to be adjusted depending on factors such as driver behavior. Of those respondents, 64% adjusted speed governors as an incentive for drivers to abide by company policies. For example, a driver that meets fuel economy and accident avoidance targets would have the speed governor setting increased. The latter companies used speed governors as a disciplinary tool for drivers who don’t adhere to company policies.

Speed governors were used by 69% of ATRI respondents. So far there have been 148 respondents, with 27% having 10 or fewer trucks, 38% with between 11 and 100 trucks, and 36% owning over 100 trucks. Most of the respondents (61%) are truckload operators, with the remaining almost evenly divided between LTL, private, specialized and “other” categories.

Among respondents that opted not to use governors, safety concerns (40.5%) were the top reason. These respondents believe that speed differentials between auto and truck traffic would negatively affect safety. Fear of driver backlashes also drove some to avoid governors, as 18.2%) said owner-operators refuse to use them and 6.8% said governor use would strain company-driver relationships.

ATRI said among companies that use governors, larger carriers were found to use lower settings than smaller ones. Respondents set governor speed between 60 and 85 mph.

ATA has supported the idea that truck OEMs limit the maximum speed of their products to 68 mph at the factory.

To view the report, go to www.atri-online.org/research/results/speedGovernorSurvey.pdf

About the Author

Terrence Nguyen

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