Michigan highway patrolmen say truckers aren't breaking the speed limit any more than
other drivers.The state recently analysed statistics which confirmed that truckers aren't going over the 55 mph speed limit in any greater proportion than ordinary drivers.
"For the most part, I think truckers are driving within or slightly above the posted speed limits," said state police Lt. Al Newell, who heads the Third District Motor Carrier Division headquartered in Saginaw.
The district encompasses a 12-county area that includes Saginaw, Arenac, Iosco, Ogemaw, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Tuscola, Sanilac, Huron, Lapeer and Genesee counties.
"It's just that when a semi is flying down the road, people tend to notice and remember it more" Newell told The Saginaw News.
Newell's office conducted two surveys in March and September last year to gauge truck speeds. In between, officers ran nine special enforcement operations to concentrate on speeding truckers.
The results from both surveys showed average speeds of trucks on secondary two-lane highways, such as Michigan Highway 13 and Michigan Highway 53, was between 58 mph
and 60 mph.
On expressways, including Interstate 75 and US 10, average speeds ranged from 60 mph to 64 mph.
During the enforcement efforts, state police stopped 492 trucks.They issued 393 tickets, 231 or nearly 60 percent of the citations were for speeding.
Experts say more citations to truck drivers could be attributed to an increase in truck traffic in recent years.
Freight traffic in the state is expected to rise 30 percent in the next five years, with trucks expected to haul 80 percent of the increase, said Walter Heinritzi, executive director of the
Michigan Trucking Association.
That comes on top of a 35 percent increase in state truck traffic since the North American Free Trade Agreement began seven years ago, said researcher Dan Blower at the University of Michigan'sTransportation Research Institute.
Michigan ranked 11th in 1998 in fatal accidents involving big trucks with 157 deaths - up from 150 in 1997.