Feds seek input on mandatory speed limiters

Two federal agencies are requesting public comment by March 27 on whether they should mandate speed-limiting devices on certain large trucks and prohibit truck owners and operators from adjusting those devices.

In a Jan. 26 Federal Register notice, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sought input on a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations and on a joint petition submitted by safety advocacy group Road Safe America and nine motor carriers. The agencies said they would weigh public comments along with their own evaluations of available data in deciding whether to move forward.

The biggest difference between the ATA and Road Safe petitions is the scope of the mandate. Road Safe and the nine carriers – Schneider National, C.R. England, H.O. Wolding, ATS Intermodal, Dart Transit, J.B. Hunt, U.S. Xpress, Covenant Transport and Jet Express – are asking that the feds mandate speed limiters on all large trucks manufactured after 1990 – a regulation that would require the retrofit of governors on virtually all on-highway trucks operated today. ATA, however, is seeking to mandate speed limiters only on new trucks built after a rule is adopted.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wasted no time in sharing its thoughts on the matter.

“Since very few highway accidents involving trucks take place at speeds greater than 68 mph, you don’t have to be a highway safety expert to conclude a singular focus on truck speed could hardly produce a safety breakthrough,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said today, Jan. 29. “But, that’s not how it works in Washington, D.C., where perception is spun to be reality.” OOIDA accuses NHTSA and FMCSA of being “all too willing to appease big business” by even agreeing to seek comments on the petitions.

For a copy of the request for comments, visit http://dms.dot.gov/searchhttp://dms.dot.gov/search and search Docket No. 26851.