WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is planning to unveil its final proposal regarding commercial motor vehicle speed limiters next year.
The agency wrote in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) September rulemaking report that June 2023 is the target date.
In May, the FMCSA sought comments on the proposal, which will affect vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more equipped with an electronic control unit that’s capable of being governed.
A governed speed has not yet been determined, according to the FMCSA.
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 that didn’t gain traction.
The newest proposal garnered around 15,000 comments in its initial reveal on the Federal Register as part of a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.
A representative of Beyond Dirt LLC wrote on the comment page: “Limiting speeds in trucks will not make them safer. All it will do is impede traffic in places where the truck speed limit is higher, making driving a truck more dangerous for the truck driver because the cars around it will be making aggressive maneuvers to get around it. This law is an over reach, if there is a problem with a few truck speeding, you need to use the State Patrol to in force the speed limit on those law breaking drivers and not make this job more dangerous for the rest of us.”
Karl Wendtand wrote: “This is a stupid idea, the danger of more accidents from cars hitting trucks will go up more if you do this. I own my truck and even though it will go much faster I drive it at the speed that gives me the best safety and fuel mileage. I have over 42 years on the road and have never had an accident, or even a ticket in 30 years. Punishing me and other professional drivers for actions by car drivers is not only unfair and discriminating to those of us that do the hard work of delivering everything you buy. If you really want to lose the older and safer drivers then pass this regulation.the driver shortage will increase by over 50% and you will destroy this industry.”
Daniel Kautz wrote: “If you are going to put speed limiters on semis and big trucks.. then you need to put them on the car and the pickups also ..they are the ones doing 110 mph down the highway talking on their cell phones using their tablets and laptops that are attached to their dash.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also opposes the proposal.
The OOIDA Foundation points to research that states the frequency of interactions with other vehicles increases 227% when traveling 10 mph below the speed of traffic.
“Considering that the United States has highways with speed limits posted at 80 mph or more, a truck that is speed limited at 60 mph may have to travel 20-25 mph slower than the flow of traffic,” according to an article on Land Line, the news magazine for OOIDA.
A study by University of Arkansas researchers in 2006 found that speed limit differentials compromise highway safety.
OOIDA also points out that regulating a truck’s top speed does not stop it from speeding.
“Although a speed limiter mandate set at 60 mph would force trucks to drive well below the posted speed limit on most highways, it would not prevent them speeding through city traffic, construction zones or in inclement weather,” OOIDA officials stated.
The OOIDA Foundation says that “research shows that forcing truckers to lose time during high-speed zones can encourage them to driver faster than they should through slower zones so that they can make their deliveries on time.”
There is some support for the proposal, however.
Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), said his organization approves of speed limiters.
“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 earlier this year.
“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.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.