Carriers want feds to mandate speed limiters; OOIDA in opposition

| 9/28/2006

In a petition to the FMCSA, nine major U.S. motor carriers and a special interest group are seeking a federal rulemaking and amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

In the petition obtained by Land Line Magazine, the carriers and Road Safe America ask for every Class 7 and Class 8 commercial motor vehicle manufactured after 1990 to be required to have an electronic speed governor set no higher than 68 mph.

The list of motor carriers, spearheaded by Schneider National, includes J.B. Hunt Transport, C.R. England, Covenant Transport, Dart Transit Company, H.O. Wolding, ATS Intermodal, U.S. Xpress and Jet Express.

The petitioners also want the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to adopt a rule against modifying or adjusting the speed limiters once they are activated. And they want the government to require that records be kept to show that commercial vehicles are actually equipped with the devices.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes mandatory speed limiters in the U.S., and in Canada, where a similar proposal in Ontario is under review by a legislative committee.

The Association filed comments against mandatory speed limiters when the Ontario Trucking Association proposed the notion in 2005. The OTA proposal calls for speed limiters to be activated at 105 kilometers per hour, or about 65 mph.

Should the respective proposals get pushed through on either or both sides of the border, officials have not clearly addressed how cross-border truckers would activate their speed limiters to suit the requirements in each country.

OOIDA officials say even though the nine U.S. motor carriers have filed a petition with FMCSA, an official notice of proposed rulemaking could still be years away or not happen at all.

The petition had not been assigned an FMCSA docket number as of press time, so the document is not yet available for viewing on the Internet.

Included with the petition was an endorsement letter from ATA supporting the carriers.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig said that any petition to the FMCSA has to undergo a lengthy review process.

“We will wait to see if FMCSA accepts the petition,” Craig told Land Line. “If it is accepted, there will be plenty of time for public comments, and if that time comes, we will let our membership know to take up a strong opposition.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer