Proposed rule on speed limiters on the move after 19-month stall

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 4/15/2013

A proposed rule that would require the installation of speed limiters on commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds is on the move at the federal level following 19 months of inactivity.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration set an initial goal of August 2011 to advance its notice of proposed rulemaking on speed limiters to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, or OST. The agency delivered the document to OST early last month, on March 4.

The next internal step for the agency is to deliver the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget. The agency projected delivery to OMB on March 26, but that date has come and gone.

Specifically, the notice of proposed rulemaking would grant petitions by the American Trucking Associations and Roadsafe America that call for the installation of speed limiters on heavy commercial vehicles. The NPRM is a proposal and not a final rule.

NHTSA believes the installation of speed limiters on heavy trucks would reduce fatalities in crashes involving CMVs on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or above.

The agency proposed the rule in March 2011, nearly five-and-a-half years after the ATA and Roadsafe America filed their petitions in November 2005. Those petitions call for the maximum road speed for trucks to be set at 68 mph.

OOIDA, whose members and leadership cite highway safety as a top priority, supports uniform speeds on the highways and not the forced speed differential among vehicle classes that a speed-limiter mandate would create.

Research presented by OOIDA in official comments shows that uniform speeds are the safest and that speed differentials increase vehicle interactions and lead to unsafe maneuvering.

OOIDA Life Member Gene Michaud, with backing from the Association, is challenging the constitutionality of mandatory speed limiters in the Canadian province of Ontario. Michaud, who claims speed limiters harm his ability to conduct his trucking business safely, won his case in lower court, but the province is scheduled to present its appeal in September.

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