Safety groups ask House reps to pump brakes on speed limiter block

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, May 15, 2023:

Trucking safety groups urge House members to oppose bill blocking speed limiters

A coalition of eight transportation safety groups penned a letter Thursday, May 11, to members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure urging them to oppose a bill that would bar the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from mandating speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks.

The bill, the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, was proposed last week.

The safety groups in their letter said “arbitrarily stopping FMCSA from this rulemaking process would compromise the agency from pursuing its stated mission -- to reduce large truck injuries and fatalities.”

The groups added that speed limiter rulemakings have “been delayed over 20 times in the past 10 years,” adding that “truck speed limiters produce substantial safety benefits.”

Opponents to speed limiters argue that creating a larger speed differential between trucks and four-wheelers would increase interactions between cars and trucks, leading to crashes.

The American Trucking Associations has long been in favor of speed limiters and in March 2022 joined Road Safe America in penning a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling for the required use of speed-limiting technology on heavy-duty trucks, and threw its support behind the December 2019-proposed Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act. That bill called for all new commercial trucks to be equipped with speed limiters and to require existing speed-limiting technology already installed on trucks manufactured after 1992 to be used while in operation.

[Related: House bill would clip FMCSA's ability to implement speed limiters]

Volvo puts brakes on deal for Chinese truck OEM

Volvo Trucks said Friday it is no longer pursuing the acquisition of JMC Heavy Duty Vehicle Co. and its manufacturing site in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China – a deal the company announced in August 2021 with the hopes of producing its heavy-duty Volvo FH, Volvo FM and Volvo FMX trucks in China by the end of last year. 

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The two parties will not pursue the transaction “due to that the conditions for closing the transaction were not met,” Volvo Trucks said in a statement, adding it will continue to export its trucks to customers in China.

"Volvo Trucks has a long history of successful business activities in China. We have great opportunities on the Chinese market, and we will continue the efforts to develop our presence,” said Roger Alm, President Volvo Trucks. “Our long-term ambition is to grow our business and continue delivering our high-quality trucks to customers in China, together with our dealer partners in the country.”

The now-scrubbed Volvo operations in Taiyuan were to include stamping, welding, manufacturing of cabs, painting and the final assembly of Volvo trucks. Following planned upgrades and investments, Volvo expected the plant to have capacity to produce 15,000 Volvo trucks per year with the potential to increase the capacity further.