WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Oklahoma has introduced new legislation that would prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from implementing a speed limiter rule on 18-wheelers.
Rep. Josh Brecheen introduced the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, on Tuesday, May 2.
In a news release, Brecheen said the rule “would negatively impact both the agricultural and trucking industries and include vehicles like semi-trucks, livestock trailer/truck combos, grain trucks and other large commercial vehicles.”
“This overreach by the Biden Administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries. I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment, and years spent hauling livestock, that the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C.,” Brecheen added. “This rule will add one more needless burden and Congress must stop it. For example, if a rancher is transporting cattle in a trailer across state lines, under this rule, the federal government would require a speed limiter device when above 26,000 lbs. Out-of-control bureaucrats are trying to impose ridiculous regulations on Americans who are trying to make ends meet.”
FMCSA’s proposed rule to require speed limiters on commercial vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds will add extra transportation costs to the private sector and make roads less safe, Brecheen contends, noting that one study found that “The frequency of interactions by a vehicle traveling 10-miles per hour below the posted speed limit was found to be 227% higher than a vehicle moving at traffic speed.”
The FMCSA has not set a maximum speed at this time.
Groups in support of Brecheen’s legislation include: Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United States Cattlemen’s Association, Western States Trucking Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies and the Towing and Recovery Association of America.
“The physics is straightforward: Limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles and leads to more crashes,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “OOIDA and our 150,000 members in small business trucking across America thank Congressman Brecheen for his leadership in keeping our roadways safe for truckers and for all road users.”
National Association of Small Trucking Companies President David Owen also spoke out for the DRIVE Act.
“Mandating speed limiters on commercial vehicles would increase speed differentials between cars and trucks, increase traffic density, and increase impatience and risky driving by those behind a plodding truck,” Owen said. “Mandatory speed limiters would likely cost more lives and cause more accidents and injuries. NASTC commends the DRIVE Act for stopping a predictable regulatory disaster.”
Not everyone is against speed limiters, however.
American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO reiterated in a statement that the ATA supports them.
“The easiest position anyone in Washington can take is ‘No.’ It requires little effort, zero facts and an unwillingness to compromise. ATA isn’t the association of ‘No.’ We put safety first. We deploy the best technology to help save lives,” Spear said. “In short, we care about the motoring public, and we feel our position on a speed limiter rule is based on data, not baseless rhetoric. Driving as fast as you can as long as you like kicks safety to the curb. It’s irresponsible. Safety is a winning issue and ATA enjoys winning. This issue is no exception.”ATA policy on speed limiters supports electronically governing Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 used in commerce should be governed by tamperproof devices that either limit the vehicle to a fixed maximum of 65 mph or limit the vehicle to 70 mph — with the use of adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
ATA also believes that the U.S. 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.”“Everyone knows excessive speed kills, and ATA policies support technology to address this irrefutable fact of physics. It is vital that any regulation get the details right, and the technologies are changing every year,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “These efforts to prohibit the development of safety policies are misguided, they will lead to more serious crashes, and this bill will never become law, even if it passes the House.”
The comment period on the speed limiter proposal ended with more than 15,000 respondents, with most opposed to the measure. However, the FMCSA is moving forward with the rule, and it could be finalized as early as June, according to the Unified Regulatory Agenda.
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.