Update: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will extend the comment period on its divisive speed limiter proposal from June 3 to July 18 following requests from the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The proposed rule has already garnered over 11,000 responses.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revived a plan Wednesday to require certain commercial vehicles use speed limiters.
- The agency said it will move forward with a safety measure first proposed in 2016 alongside the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That proposal would have required heavy-duty trucks to be equipped with a speed limiting device, but it did not determine a maximum speed.
- The revived rule is open to a 30-day public comment period. The FMCSA will use stakeholders' feedback on a dozen different questions to craft a final rule.
Federal regulators have sought for years to require speed limiters in trucks to make roads safer. In an online FAQ about the renewed effort, the FMCSA said the number of commercial motor vehicle crashes in which speed is listed as a contributing factor is "unacceptable."
"A carrier-based approach could provide the opportunity to compel fleets that are not currently using speed limiters to slow down their CMVs within a relatively short period," it said.
The federal government and industry groups have been wrestling over the issue of requiring speed limiters in trucks for years. Speed limiters are divisive within the industry, with larger fleet owners typically more in favor of the devices than smaller outfits, in which an owner might also be behind the wheel.
The American Trucking Associations supports a requirement as a "constructive, data-driven approach," Chris Spear, president and CEO, said in a statement. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which opposes the requirement, said limiters cause variance in speed, which contributes to crashes.
"OOIDA opposes a mandate for speed limiters as such a mandate would increase the interaction between large trucks and passenger vehicles, thereby decreasing overall highway safety," the association told Transport Dive in a statement Thursday.
The proposed rule for heavy-duty trucks doesn’t include a certain maximum speed limit, any regulatory text or estimates of the costs or safety benefits. Those proposals and estimates would be formulated following input during the rulemaking process.
Whatever the final rule, the FMCSA will seek to place the burden of complying with the rule on motor carriers, rather than manufacturers, to “potentially avoid confusion on who is responsible,” the agency said in the notice.
“If necessary, NHTSA will evaluate the need for additional regulatory actions concerning [truck] manufacturer requirements to address issues raised during implementation that are beyond the scope of FMCSA’s authority,” the notice said.
Stakeholders who submitted comments on a proposal five years ago must do so again. The agency’s questions in its request for public comment illustrated some of the areas regulators are still exploring in the rulemaking process.
Among them: “What percentage of the [truck] fleet uses speed limiters?” “If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?” “What skill sets or training are needed … to adjust or program” the devices?
The full notice, list of questions and directions on how to submit public comments can be found on the FMCSA website.