Secretary's office punts speed limiters back to NHTSA

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/13/2013

The DOT’s Office of the Secretary has punted a notice of proposed rulemaking for speed limiters on heavy trucks back to the agency that submitted it.

Without a publicly stated reason, the OST returned the proposal to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on April 18, just over a month after the agency submitted it on behalf of two petitioning groups, the American Trucking Associations and Roadsafe America.

NHTSA plans to resubmit the proposal on or about July 26.

The ATA and Roadsafe America filed petitions in November 2005, urging NHTSA to require speed limiters set at 68 mph on trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds.

Five years later, the agency granted the petition and developed a notice of proposed rulemaking in March 2011. A notice of proposed rulemaking, known as an NPRM, is a proposal and not a final rule.

Then, following 19 months of inactivity, NHTSA submitted its proposal to the Office of the Secretary on March 4. See related story here.

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.

OOIDA, whose members and leadership make highway safety a priority, opposes an industry-wide mandate for speed limiters.

The Association 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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