This post offers an in depth impact analysis of the issue.
The reason given by the government for imposing Speed Governors: Over speeding trucks are a traffic menace and can be fatal to the public. Limiting the speed of the vehicles can bring down the death toll.
However convincing that may sound, my opinion is that it is not fair to impose speed governors on vehicles, because there’ll be more negative impact than positive, if any.
Now let us go step by step.
Will enforcing speed governors bring down death rates on highways?
Consider this: A heavy vehicle like truck will have huge mass. Because of this, they carry a very high momentum (Momentum is product of mass and velocity and is a measure of impact an object can do upon collision). Because of its huge mass, a truck can knock down a person standing in front of it, even at a modest speed of 10 kmph. So, irrespective of whether the truck is moving at 100kmph (average speed on highway under normal conditions) or at 60 kmph (let us say the maximum speed permitted by speed governor when installed), chances are that accident will be fatal in both cases. Since it is not practical to say that trucks shouldn’t run, the approach should be to ensure that no one comes in the way of the truck.
The business impact of Speed governor
1 Loss of Business
With Karnataka being the only state in the country to enforce speed governor, the vehicles registered in Karnataka will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to vehicles of neighboring states. If the speed governor cuts the average speed by 50% the time to deliver the goods will double. This means the operating cost also will double. The government will not compensate the truckers for this and customer will not pay extra, because on the same road the trucks belonging to Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra can zoom at twice the speed and deliver goods on time. Gradually customers will shift to non Karnataka trucks throwing the later out of business. So, if at all it is enforced it needs to be done uniformly across the nation.
Ask yourself as a consumer:
If an Airavata (KSRTC's Volvo Service) takes 15 hours to reach Hyderabad while Garuda (APSRTC's Volvo Service) can take you there in 10 hours, which one do you prefer? Slower speed doesn't necessarily translate into higher safety. What counts is how safely the vehicle is run and how external parameters (roads, other road users, vehicle condition such as braking efficiency etc) help ensuring a smooth journey. [Related: Bangalore Hyderabad by Bus]
We're building express highways like Golden Quadrilateral to facilitate smooth and quick transport. Imposing a speed limit of 60kmph is like going back to stone age
We already have so many traffic rules-how many are being effectively implemented? Will not this speed governor become another measure for RTO inspectors to make money? From a business perspective, it makes more economical and business sense for truck operators to bribe check post inspector with few hundred rupees and speed away without a SG, as the delay in delivery time because of SG can be more expensive than the bribe. So the implementation is more likely to serve the vested interest of few than general public.
Also it is very easy for anyone to buy a truck in TN/AP, get it registered there with National permit and use in Karnataka. The state government will unnecessarily lose revenue.
3 What about Volvo & Man Trucks?
A Volvo truck costs 3 times the ordinary one. If someone has invested in a Volvo he definitely needs to charge his customers extra, which can be justified because a Volvo can carry 2 times the load of a normal truck and take half the time to deliver them. If speed of Volvo is restricted at par with ordinary vehicle, Volvo truck owner will never be able to recover his investment.
4 Damage to roads
Few claim that over speeding/overloaded truck will have greater damage on the roads. Partially true. But my argument is that we should build an infrastructure (roads) that can withstand heavy loads and facilitate faster movement of goods. That is the only way forward. Not the excuses such as "Go slow because our roads are delicate"
What is the solution?
1 Address other issues first:
2 Educate all road users:
3 Use hub and spoke model
4 Promote RORO wherever possible.
Speed governors make sense if the vehicle is exclusive for intra-city use (BMTC Buses already have speed governor). But on highway, they hinder the speed, not just of the vehicle, but that of nation’s growth.
What others say? Churumuri offers an opposite perspective which I do not agree. Enguru and Vasuki Rao agree with me.
Btb I was holding a valid HTV license until last year. Now it has expired and needs to be renewed.
October 2009 updates: More than an year later speed governors aren't enforced yet.
A friend survives KSRTC bus accident * Forgotten factor: Safe Breaking distance *