Sandy Springs, GA — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) and Rep. John Katko (NY-24) introduced a bipartisan measure to limit the speed of heavy commercial trucks and support efforts to improve safety, enhance fuel efficiency, and reduce the occurrence of these often fatal crashes.
The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act would codify into law a “speed limiter” rule that has been under consideration at for more than a decade. The bill is named for 22-year old Atlanta resident Cullum Owings, who was killed in a car-truck collision in 2002 while returning to college. The legislation was long-championed by former Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson and is endorsed by the Truckload Carriers Association, the Trucking Alliance, AAA, the Institute for Safer Trucking, Road Safe America, and the Safe Operating Speed Alliance.
“The safety and security of our families, our friends, and our loved ones is always of the utmost priority,” said McBath. “The Owings family has done so much to protect other children like Cullum and I want to thank them for all they have done. No family in America should ever have to experience the same pain of losing a loved one so needlessly. This is an important, bipartisan step to make our roadways safer, protect drivers, and stop these heartbreaking crashes from happening.”
“Our lives changed forever in the worst of ways after a speeding truck driver using cruise control crashed into our son’s car, stopped in an interstate traffic jam, as he headed back to college after Thanksgiving break” said Steve Owings, Co-founder of Road Safe America.“Back then, Susan and I were completely unaware that most large trucks already had speed limiter technology built in, which could have saved our son’s life had it been used. We are so thankful to Congresswoman McBath for understanding the grief of losing a child and for introducing the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act to ensure other families do not suffer the same needless loss we deal with every day because of speeding big rigs.”
“The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA) is proud to support the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act. Driving a truck is not the same as driving a car. Speed compounds the dangers and it is beyond question that high speed is a leading cause of serious truck crashes. Keeping truck speeds at or below 65 mph (or 70 mph with use of automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control) will save lives. This has been proven in many other parts of the world. The technology to make this possible has been built into trucks since the 1990s and we are long overdue in requiring its implementation in the USA,” said Joe Fried, a nationally recognized truck crash attorney from Atlanta, GA and Co-founder of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.
“The Institute for Safer Trucking and our network of families of truck crash victims support this commonsense approach to requiring the use of speed limiters on our heaviest vehicles,” said Harry Adler, Principal and Co-founder of the Institute for Safer Trucking. “We cannot allow unsafe companies to use speed to gain a competitive advantage over safe companies that voluntarily limit the speed of their trucks in order to reduce their fuel use and, more importantly, their involvement in high speed crashes. Passing this bill will help end the dangerous practice of speeding and make trucking safer for all of us.”
“During 2020 over 42,000 people lost their lives on our highways. According to the National Safety Council the fatality rate increased 24%, the largest increase ever and speed was a major factor. Large trucks are often involved in speed related crashes and their crash dynamics make it far more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities. The speed limiter installed in large trucks for many years can be easily programmed to limit the top operating speed and help prevent these collisions and save lives by limiting crash forces” said Gary Catapano, Co-founder of the Safe Operating Speed Alliance. “Passing this bill will be a great first step in addressing our country’s speeding problem”.
“Millions of motorists are within a few feet of 80,000 pound tractor trailer rigs each day and there is no reason why that equipment should be driven at 75 or 80 or 85 miles per hour,” said Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Ark., co-founder and president of the Trucking Alliance and also a former chairman of the American Trucking Associations. “This legislation will reduce the severity of large truck crashes and make the nation’s roadways safer for our drivers and all of us."