In spite of obvious concerns over a speed limiter mandate with a virtually unprecedented yearlong review at the White House, one Senator is pushing to make the devices mandatory on all trucks, sooner rather than later.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., introduced an amendment to the Senate version of the transportation funding bill that, if signed into law, would direct the Department of Transportation to produce a final rule mandating speed limiters on trucks within six months of the bill being signed into law.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
The amendment is part of the Senate version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. The bill appears likely to be passed by the Senate, according to D.C. insiders.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is calling on all members and their family members to call Isakson’s office as well as their own senators and oppose the Isakson amendment, No. 4024. You can reach your senator’s office by calling the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Isakson’s office can be reached directly at 202-224-3643.
While part of the THUD appropriations bill, lawmakers can prevent the provision from becoming part of the final funding measure.
The proposed rule has spent more than a year languishing at the White House Office of Management and Budget, undergoing a cost-benefit review. If the proposal receives OMB clearance, a two-month comment period for the proposed regulation is anticipated.
Last September, OMB extended the review period. No reason was given. The proposal was submitted for review on May 19, 2015. OMB approval of rulemakings typically occurs within 90 days.
“The delay at the White House is certainly not common. Unfortunately, this step in the regulatory process is not a transparent one, and we are in wait and see mode. If the proposal manages to get the green light and moves forward, rest assured that OOIDA is more than ready to do battle,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill-Kaumo.
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.
A two-agency rulemaking between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the regulation was prompted by a 2006 petition from the American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America.
Under the proposed rule, NHTSA will have jurisdiction over newly manufactured trucks and could, through this rulemaking process, mandate that all new trucks be equipped with activated speed-limiting devices.
While not publicly disclosed, FMCSA’s ability to regulate speed limiters would be limited to trucks currently on the road. Although mandating retrofits or activation of the device would be a stretch of the agency’s authority, the agency would be able to prohibit trucks without activated speed-limiting devices from operating in interstate commerce. The proposed regulation should shed light on what exactly FMCSA has up its sleeve for trucks currently on the road.
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