Speed-limiter proposal sent to White House budget office

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 5/19/2015

Federal agencies sent a proposed rule on heavy-truck speed limiters to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, May 19. Small-business truckers remain against a government mandate for the devices, saying that forcing trucks to drive slower than the normal flow of traffic will have serious unintended consequences for highway safety.

The proposed rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is based on a petition filed in 2006 by the American Trucking Associations and Roadsafe America to create a new standard under federal motor carrier regulations.

The petitioners and federal agencies believe that a government mandate for speed limiters on heavy trucks would reduce fatal crashes in which a truck is involved on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph and above.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to oppose a government mandate and says highway safety is more complex than simply capping truck speeds at or below posted speed limits or the flow of traffic.

OOIDA leadership sent a letter and a white paper on speed differentials to the Office of Management and Budget to discuss what the Association says would be a “significant negative impact on safety.”

“To the casual observer, mandating speed limiters on heavy-duty vehicles might seem like a ‘safety silver bullet.’ Professional drivers know, however, that highway safety is not so simple,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer wrote.

“Setting a policy in one area can have significant unintended consequences in others. OOIDA is not pushing for faster speed limits. But whatever a jurisdiction decides, the speed limit ought to be the same limit for all vehicles in order to foster a predictable, safer highway driving environment.”

During a congressional hearing in late April, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the federal agencies are planning to publish their notice of proposed rulemaking on heavy vehicle speed limiters in the Federal Register sometime in the fall. If that holds up, publication of the NPRM would trigger a 60-day public comment period.

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