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FMCSA draws ire, support with proposal to limit CMV speed limits

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FMCSA draws ire, support with proposal to limit CMV speed limits
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says it is once again planning to address requiring speed limiters on all commercial vehicles (CMV) manufactured after a certain date, possibly 2003 and later, according to a recent filing of a notice of intent to solicit comments on the issue.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants to install speed limiters on commercial vehicles (CMVs) operating across the country, according to a recent notice of intent filing.

But before that can happen, the agency has to initiate a public comment session, which will begin after the notice is officially published in the Federal Register. As of this writing, it has not been filed but is expected to appear within the next few days.

The agency will use those comments as part of its rulemaking process.

The notice does not give a specific speed limit to be set; however, it does state that “the agency is considering making the rule only applicable to CMVs manufactured after a certain date, such as 2003, because this is the population of vehicles for which ECUs (electronic engine control units) were routinely installed and may potentially be used to govern the speed of the vehicles.”

Additionally, the rule, if adopted, would affect CMVs “in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, that are equipped with ECUs capable of governing the maximum speed be required to limit the CMV to a speed to be determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle.”

The move is a follow-up to a 2016 joint proposal  between the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for CMV speed limiters.

“The National Roadway Safety Strategy identified speed as a major factor in fatal crashes, and speed management as a primary tool to reduce serious injuries and fatalities,” the FMCSA notice states. “FMCSA envisions the rule as a commonsense approach to reducing crashes and saving lives as the agency continues to work with drivers and advocates for the CMV community towards a goal of zero lives lost on our nation’s roadways.”

The notice further states that the FMCSA “is moving forward with this rulemaking because of concerns about the number of CMV crashes and fatalities traveling at high speeds. In 2019 alone, there were nearly 900 fatal crashes in areas with posted speed limits over 70 miles per hour.”

Reaction from the trucking industry came swiftly.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) criticized the plan in a news release.

An OOIDA statement said policies and devices that limit speeds for large trucks “create unnecessary congestion and dangerous speed differentials among vehicles, which lead to higher accident involvement rates.”

“Studies and research have already proven what we were all taught long ago in driver’s ed classes, that traffic is safest when vehicles all travel at the same relative speed,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “Limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles which can lead to more crashes.”

 

“This is just too much. You got big Washington people who think they know how to drive these trucks. Hell, they can’t even start one, much less drive one. Yet they are gonna tell us how to run on the highway? It’s crap man. Total crap.”

— C. Jenkins, independent owner-operator

 

Additionally, most crashes involving CMVs occur in areas with speed limits below 55 mph, mitigating the effect of any potential mandate, the OOIDA news release stated.

“What the motoring public should know is that when they are stuck behind trucks on long stretches of highway, those trucks are often limited to a speed well under the posted speed limit,” Spencer said.

Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Vice President of Government Affairs David Heller wrote on TCA’s website that TCA staff “will review the notice and consult with our Regulatory Policy Committee in order to submit comments by the deadline…. We look forward to working with our members and FMCSA leadership to help craft a final rule that reflects TCA’s policy on speed limiters.”

TCA adopted the following stance on speed limiters in April 2021:

“The speed of all electronically governed Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 should be governed by tamperproof devices either limiting the vehicle to a fixed maximum of 65 mph or limiting the vehicle to 70 mph with the use of adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The Department of Transportation should conduct a recurring five-year review of speed-governing regulations to ensure that the regulations are appropriate and consistent with currently deployed technologies. Although TCA does not have a position on setting speed limiters or engine control modules (ECMs) for passenger vehicles, it recommends states consider setting the speed limiters on the vehicles of drivers with certain driving convictions.”

Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), said the ATA supports FMCSA’s proposal.

“ATA is pleased that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is pursuing a constructive, data-driven approach to the issue of truck speed limiters in its latest proposal,” Spear wrote in a news release.

“We intend to thoroughly review FMCSA’s proposal, and we look forward to working with the agency to shape a final rule that is consistent with our policy supporting the use of speed limiters in conjunction with numerous other safety technologies,” he said.

There are some companies that have been using speed limiters on their rigs for years.

Walmart, for example, sets the top speed of its rigs at 65 mph.

Gary Garrison, president of Allstar Fuel, which operates a dozen 18-wheelers and a handful of bobtail trucks out of fuel outlets in the Texas cities of Plainview, Graham and Wichita Falls, recently told MyPlainView.com that one of the main reasons for speed limiters is safety.

“If you are involved in collisions, the slower speed does have a safety element,” he said, adding that accident avoidance is increased as slower speeds as well.

But “maybe the bigger reason is fuel conservation,” Baker added of Walmart’s 65 mph max.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

“You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.29 per gallon for gas,” the website states.

Fleet driver Sandy Griffin, who works for a company she preferred not to name, has been dealing with speed limiters for the past several years.

“It took some getting used to, for sure,” Griffin said. “Ours are set to 65, so it does make it harder to pass vehicles when you need to. It takes a little extra planning. Overall, I don’t mind it, though.”

Other drivers scoffed at the thought of speed limiters.

“I’d quit,” said truck driver Ray Simmons, who lives in Arkansas and works for a company that does not have speed limiters in its rigs.

“Nobody should tell me how to drive this rig. If I am driving a rig for you, I am a professional driver. Let me do my own thing,” he continued. “They ain’t out there on the road with me. I am out there, and I don’t need anybody telling me how to drive.”

Independent owner-operator C. Jenkins, who lives in Tennessee and has a small fleet of dry vans, said the government is overreaching.

“This is just too much,” Jenkins said. “You got big Washington people who think they know how to drive these trucks. Hell, they can’t even start one, much less drive one. Yet they are gonna tell us how to run on the highway? It’s crap man. Total crap.”

HOW FMCSA RULES ARE SET

First, anadvanced notice of proposed rulemaking is issued. This is an optional step in which the FMCSA publishes any data it has on the issue at hand and asks for public opinion and comments. The FMCSA may also create a board of affected parties to help the agency craft rules that are agreeable to all parties.

Second, the agency publishes the full proposed rule in the Federal Register, which is essentially a government newsletter. In the posting, the FMCSA also includes the reasoning behind the new rule and instructions on how the public can respond with their opinions.

Next comes the public comment period, during which private individuals, corporations and trade associations may post input concerning the proposed rule.

After that comes the final rule. The FMCSA usually makes minor changes to the proposed rule before it is added to the federal code. The Department of Transportation is then tasked with enforcing it.

 

John Worthen

Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.

Avatar for John Worthen
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.
For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.

17 Comments

I drive a truck limited to 70 mph. I use as much of that speed as I can. Yes there are times I wish I could go a bit faster when I need to pass another vehicle. Sadly there are drivers who can’t go a bit faster because of weight, on a slight grade , or who can and decide to play the dating game by what I call the holding hands Syndrome. Nothing is more annoying than a driver who slows down while passing another truck. Go or get off the pot! Once they pass the speed up to 72 mph after dropping down to 66 to pass a truck doing 65.5 mph.
The government is doing everything it can do to just destroy the freedom of the open road. The time limits, the mandatory breaks, the removal of the tax breaks on equipment and clothing used on the job, the daily food costs or possible motel room for business being eliminated is just some of the things the government fools have destroyed. Lies and deceptions is their game. Those of us who have been doing the hard work for 20, 30, or 40 years have seen it happen. November is coming and you had better vote to make a change. Let these twerking baboons know that their floor show is about to get the hook. This isn’t just directed at one party, but at those who say one thing but then after the election, they conveniently forget what they ran on.

This new Regulations is going to kill the Trucing Transport Industries government people sit in office deciding what truck drivers go through every day I been in this Industry 30 years every time they want to hit Trucking for some reason

That bunch of dumbass people are also the ones that said eld’s would make trucking more safe and efficient so how’s that working out for them.That department needs to be eliminated as a wasted cause , because everything they do screws up trucking more every day !!!!

May 12, 2022 at 10:00 am
This new Regulations is going to kill the Trucing Transport Industries government people sit in office deciding what truck drivers go through every day I been in this Industry 30 years every time they want to hit Trucking for some reason

Reply

Is it not discrimination to tell a select group of people that they cannot drive the lawfully posted speed limit on roads that their tax dollars support? Does this include RV’s busses, or other heavy towing and non towing vehicles. This would be a civil rights violation under the constitution. This is not intended to protect a certain class, rather to restrict one.

This is just another one of their attempts to rid themselves of human truckers, and replace them with satanic robotic clones where the holy spirit is not present and has no soul no thoughts no opinions no family no complaints etc. All they want is a workhorse that pays taxes. The pay isnt even worth it anymore and all the strict laws make the job dreadful to think of doing anymore and I have 22 years. I dont know who would want to drive a truck anymore with the low pay and big sacrifice you have to be willing to take ,its just not worth it anymore. Its genocide by trade. Where will all of us truckers go after the jobs are all taken by robots? I dont know but we better be careful because something is coming and it aint good.

Bottom line
If every driver out here would adhere to the laws ( within reason,everybody cheats) this thing wouldn’t be happening
1.speeding
2.running in undesignated lanes
3.speeding down grades
4.tailgating
5.common courtesy towards other drivers
6.drive it like a truck
not like your car!!
Just sayin

Well time to find a new job enough said no need to be out there anymore and more than likely a lot of drivers gonna quit unless you raise pay significally to where i dont give a dam when i get there or even if im late to deliver been out here over 30 plus years so yup no more of this bullshit

So the idiots in Washington think it safe to have a bunch of truck running next to each other for miles. Then the four wheeler getting all pissed off because where in the way and do something stupid like they always do and we have a massive pile up.!!!

Yep, here we go again, another dumb politician telling us how to do our jobs. I bought and worked hard to pay for my truck. Its set wide open, but I don’t drive it that away, Speedlimiters will only cause more problems like Road Rage. How about you smart FMCSA folks take a trip from Little Rock to Memphis and see what your ideas will cause. This is a bad thing like the ELD. Y’all harp about driver shortage, do that to us and you’ll only add to the problem. I’m already thinking of parking mine, You tell me I gotta fool with my truck that I own and pay you people stupid amounts of money and pay for this ridiculous high fuel, I’ll quit for
sure. How about y’all make these big companies hire people that can speak English and make them be trained properly. These few days driving schools hiring these foreign idiots are the one causing the accidents. I see it every day, maybe it’s the flip flops making them drive like that.Also make these mega carriers buy insurance like us little people and I bet you’ll notice a difference, I could go on and on but what do I know , I’ve been a driver 34 years, longer than most politicians careers.

How about looking at the company’s with the most crashes regardless of number of trucks in fleet how many of the crashes involved 68 mph trucks or slower. I’ve been at this 25 years when ELDS was forced on us it was to fix the problem apparently it has not. The problem lie’s with the fleet’s that put any body behind the wheel .

How about you put speed limiters on these dam cars they fly around our trucks at 85 to 100 miles an hour, 76 percent of the accidents involving cmv are caused by aggressive driving by car, the other 24 precent is aggressive driving by truckers, faulty equipment, poor pre trip and poorly trained drivers, And unpredictable road Hazzard, they need to stop blaming truckers for every accident even though we are professionals we are human and we can nor stop unpredictable event on these roads, and there are more poorly trained drivers of cars than trucks,

Ask Ohio turnpike what happens when trucks all drove 55 for about a week in 1993 when they raised speed limits for cars and not trucks total chaos

Instead of limiting the speed of commercial vehicles we should be teaching the general public about truck safety. In drivers education they should learn about blind spots and the distance a truck needs to stop. Maybe then they would think twice before cutting us off or taking that space in front of us. Show them some pictures from an accident involving a truck. Then maybe there will be more awareness when they are around a commercial vehicle and more respect for the American trucker and what we do. I am a 22 year safe driver.

Okay let me say it this way how would you like for me to come to your job and tell you that you’re going to have to slow down and at the same time you’re not going to get paid as much oh and you also won’t be able to get home to your family as quick as you have been and also the standard of living that you have enjoyed so far well you’re going to have to readjust probably get a smaller house with a smaller mortgage I don’t think there’s anyone out there that would enjoy this especially at a time when all the speed limits on interstates have gone up maybe just maybe some of the other drivers out there need to learn better defensive driving instead of cutting us off and other stupid actions from people who feel their entitled to the road and we are not

I don’t understand why you keep going
After us for turning down these SEMI’S
First off that is dangerous having split
Speeds you have cars going 80 mile hour
And us doing whatever you decide.
Most of us have speed controls on us
Anyway. I don’t go over 70 even if it’s in
A faster limit. I was in Washington state
Doing the speed limit 55 when a girl
Not paying attention hit the back of my trailer. Luckily it damaged her car but
Not her. But if she had been going faster
It would have killed her. I don’t know who
Came up with this idea. It’s time they
Get us places to park So we can take our brakes. You want to slow us all down
When we can’t find parking now.
The freight will take longer to get there
I think you need to drop this and start
Helping us find better parking so we
Can safely park when needed
Thank you

I’m a company driver I disagree for the reasons previously posted Hill climbing, safety issues. It will make us less safe on the highways. Let’s take this to a different view. We have cars around us that can go 150 to 200 mph. Is it legal for them to do so no we get that it is not for us in a cmv. Ok now let’s take a look on a different perspective. How many highspeed car chases do we have on our us highways. How many of those are those are in a regular car to those that are in a cmv. My point to all this is why is the government so focused on us that drive our lives away. Take a chance with our lives cause of the idiots that do 100 mph in these 4wheel vehicles. Let’s limit there speed instead of leaving them thinking they can be fast and furious. So focused on the big trucks but no focus on the little cars that actually cause the issues and frustration for us that are trying to just do hour job.

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