By: Steve Vaughn, senior vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance

Commercial law enforcement in North America focuses on unsafe behavior by car and truck drivers. The most frequent reason enforcement pulls drivers over? Speeding.

As a fleet manager or truck driver, you know that speeding can lead to a violation that harms your company’s safety rating just as it can harm drivers and others on the road. You may also know that the law enforcement folks report that motorists speed six times more frequently than do truck drivers.

What’s a trucker to do? Start by taking this Speed Quiz – and share the results:

True or False: Law enforcement targets trucks for speeding.

Answer: True, but only in one sense. As a California Highway Patrol officer, I knew that trucks take longer to stop than do automobiles. So, if a truck was speeding or following too close, I would focus first on the truck, for the safety of everyone on the road. But, as the speeding numbers show, I was busy with cars, too.

Speed limiters are a) unproven technology; b) imposed only on repeat violators; c) familiar to many truck drivers; or d) the solution for highway safety.

Answer: c) familiar to many truck drivers. Over 60% of large truck fleets voluntarily deploy speed “governors” on their equipment, mostly to conserve fuel. And over 30 countries worldwide have regulations requiring speed limiters on trucks. While the U.S. speed limiter regulation is still pending, it is important for truck drivers to remember that traffic, weather, or road conditions may call for a truck speed slower than allowed by law. Technology may help highway safety, but drivers should remain actively engaged and alert.

What year was the 55 MPH National Speed Limit repealed; a) 1972; b) 1995; c) 1967; or d) 2001?

Answer: b) 1995, when Congress returned speed limit controls to the states. Whether that proved to be a good or bad choice is frequently debated. But motor carriers and truck drivers should remember that legal speed limits do change. This year, seven state legislatures are debating speed limit changes. Be alert for new speed limit signs. And, heading into summer, watch for slower speeds in work zones.

Speaking of speed limit signs, at what point on the road does the increased or decreased speed limit actually take effect?

Answer: Right there, at the location of the sign. We all speed up when we see a sign ahead indicating a return to highway speeds or begin slowing down at the sign indicating reduced speed. But legally, the new speed is enforceable right there at the sign location. That means truck drivers should heed any speed limit alert signs (“45 mph zone ahead”) and adjust their speed before the lower limit sign and, conversely, only begin increasing speed when at the location of the higher limit sign.

Stay safe, and legal, out there!

Steve Vaughn is senior vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass and electronic toll-payment and management services. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

This blog was originally published on the website