Where are they now - Speed limiters edition

By Greg Grisolano, associate editor

Another deadline has come and gone for a proposed rule mandating speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks.

Last year, Congress passed the transportation appropriations bill for 2016, which included a deadline of April 28, 2016, for the DOT to publish its proposed speed limiter mandate. The Senate is attempting to add a deadline in the 2017 appropriations.

The proposed rule has spent more than a year languishing at the White House Office of Management and Budget, undergoing a cost-benefit review. If the proposal receives OMB clearance, a two-month comment period is anticipated.

Last September, OMB extended the review period. No reason was given. The proposal was submitted for review on May 19, 2015. OMB approval typically occurs within 90 days.

“The delay at the White House is certainly not common. Unfortunately, this step in the regulatory process is not a transparent one and we are in wait-and-see mode. If the proposal manages to get the green light and moves forward, rest assured that OOIDA is more than ready to do battle,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill-Kaumo.

OOIDA opposes a government mandate on this issue, pointing to research that contradicts the fed’s claimed “safety benefits” of speed limiters, as it would force a speed differential between heavy trucks and other vehicles using the highways. That would lead to more vehicle interactions, unsafe maneuvering and crashes, a study of speed differentials shows.

A two-agency rulemaking between Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the regulation was prompted by a 2006 petition from the American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America.

Under the proposed rule, NHTSA will have jurisdiction over newly manufactured trucks and could mandate that all new trucks be equipped with activated speed-limiting devices.

While not publicly disclosed, FMCSA’s ability to regulate speed limiters would be limited to trucks currently on the road. Although mandating retrofits or activation of the device would be a stretch of the agency’s authority, the agency would be able to prohibit trucks without activated speed-limiting devices from operating in interstate commerce. The proposed regulation should shed light on what exactly FMCSA has up its sleeve for trucks on the road. LL