SPEED LIMITERS: Feds extend speed limiter comment period to Dec. 7

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 11/1/2016

The deadline to file comments on a proposal to mandate speed limiters in trucks over 26,000 pounds has been extended by 30 days, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The agency along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly announced the deadline extension on Tuesday, Nov. 1, less than a week before the comment period was originally scheduled to conclude. The new deadline of Dec. 7 “will provide all interested sufficient opportunity to fully develop and submit comments and evidentiary materials to the agencies,” according to the announcement.

Both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Association filed requests to extend the comment period. OOIDA filed a request for an additional 60 days, while ATA requested 30 extra days to respond to the rulemaking.

“OOIDA is pleased that the Agency was responsive to our request for more time,” OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill-Kaumo said. “It is obvious that with the amount of comments already filed on the docket that this is a huge concern for drivers and many stakeholders. We want to make sure that we as an Association not only have time to comment, but that concerned drivers have an opportunity to be heard.”

In its request, OOIDA noted that the proposed rule is “one of the most significant” rulemakings in decades, and original 60-day comment period needed to be extended to allow more time to adequately address the proposal. More than 4,500 comments have been filed as of press time.

The proposal seeks comment on a variety of issues that generally are resolved before filing an NPRM – such as the speed at which heavy vehicles should be restricted, the financial impact to small-business truck and bus companies, and whether or not to limit the mandate to new vehicles only or order a retrofit for all trucks. The government is seeking input on whether to set the speed limiters at 60, 65, or 68 mph.

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.

OOIDA’s website, FightingForTruckers.com, has more information about the Association’s opposition to the proposal, as well as ways for truckers to contact their lawmakers via letter and oppose a mandate. 

The FightingForTruckers website also includes a link to a list of talking points members can reference when filing comments for NHTSA and FMCSA to consider during the rulemaking process. Drivers who currently drive or have driven speed-limited trucks are encouraged to share their personal experiences and real-world, on-the-road problems they’ve faced when using such devices.

OOIDA encourages its members to submit comments via Regulations.gov at Docket FMCSA-2014-0083 or Docket NHTSA-2016-0087 (All comments received will be duly considered by the joint NHTSA and FMCSA team; comments only need to be posted to one docket). The public comment period will close Wednesday, Dec. 7.

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