Atlanta, Georgia – A new U.S. study showing that thousands of drivers of highway big rigs have health problems that impair driving ability is a reason for adoption of regulations requiring speed governors on trucks to be set to 68 mph (109 km/h), said the non-profit group Road Safe America.

The organization said that the regulation requiring speed limiters to be set to 68 mph has been pending at the U.S. Department of Transportation for almost two years without action, while almost 5,000 people die each year in traffic collisions involving heavy trucks.

Tractor-trailer and bus drivers in the U.S. have suffered seizures, heart attacks or unconscious spells behind the wheel, and that hundreds of thousands of drivers carry commercial licenses even though they also qualify for full federal disability payments, according to a study obtained by the Associated Press.

“This is further evidence of the need to have special regulations requiring activation of speed governors set at 68 mph on the largest machines operating on our national roadways,” said Stephen Owings, founder of Road Safe America. “Heavy trucks already come equipped with speed limiting devices, so activating them would be an easy, cost-effective step that would immediately begin to save lives. In light of the death toll, we don’t understand why this hasn’t already been done.”

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