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What is a New Orleans, Louisiana, speed governor?

Speed governors in New Orleans are not elected officials that regulate the speed on the Louisiana roadways. Instead, these are safety control devices that are available on every class seven and eight truck. This standard equipment allows a truck driver to set a top speed limit when traveling on Louisiana roadways. This tool is thought to be very useful in the prevention of truck accidents.

Since 1992, speed governors have been installed in the heaviest class of 18-wheeler trucks. These on-board computers serve as a speed limiter. This is particularly useful in emergency situations. A fully loaded heavy commercial truck needs a greater distance to stop compared to the average passenger vehicle. If a truck is traveling at a slower speed, this may give the driver the chance to stop more safely and, hopefully, prevent an accident.

Though speed governors are available to truck drivers, it often goes unused. Speed is used as an industry advantage for truck drivers. Many are paid by the mile or the load. Therefore, the ability to travel at a greater speed to complete the delivery is viewed as a competitive edge. At times, this may mean that safety takes a back seat to productivity.

Speed governors, if utilized, can be a great safety tool. However, it is not a substitute for safe drivers. In addition to traveling at a moderate speed, truck drivers must maintain a safe distance from other drivers at all times. The height of the truck should be utilized by the truck driver to prevent hard brake situations.

Source: RoadSafeAmerica.org, "Speed Governors," accessed on Dec. 15, 2014

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