Per DOT, speed limiter rule could come this year

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Updated Mar 19, 2014

truck on highwaySpurred by a request from the American Trucking Associations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has indicated it plans to produce a rule requiring the use of speed limiters in heavy trucks this year.

According to the Department of Transportation’s monthly report on significant rulemakings — released last week — the rule is slated to be sent to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for approval May 21 and then be forwarded to the White Houses’ Office of Management and Budget June 26.

The DOT report did not indicate what the speed may be, but it did say the rule could be published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Oct. 1.

The rulemaking process is a joint effort with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the DOT report says, and would apply to trucks with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds.

Roadsafe America also petitioned the agency to produce the rule, and NHTSA requested public comment on both its petition and ATA’s. DOT’s report says “thousands of comments supporting the petition’s request” came in, propelling the agencies to act on them.

The rule, says FMCSA, “would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes” each year involving trucks that would be subject to the speed limiter rule.

We believe this rule would have a minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set,” the DOT report reads.

FMCSA Associate Administrator for Policy Larry Minor said at the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in February that the rule could even be “retroactive,” and the agency would explore whether the speed limiter requirement would need to apply to new trucks only or all trucks, meaning retrofit on older equipment would need to be provided.

In a legal case in 2012, a judge ruled speed limiters are unsafe and a violation of rights.

–Todd Dills contributed to this report.