Effort to stall speed limiter mandate heading for a House vote

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line Digital Content Editor | 9/6/2017

An amendment that would keep any money earmarked in a new federal appropriations bill from being used to further a proposed federal mandate for speed limiters on commercial vehicles is one step closer to passing.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., filed the amendment as part of HR3354, an appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Environment and other related agencies. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

If approved, the amendment would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from using any of the funds from being used to finalize a September 2016 advance notice of proposed rulemaking that would require speed-limiting devices on commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the amendment and has long opposed any effort to mandate speed-limiting devices on commercial trucks, citing research that risks posed by increasing vehicle interactions via speed differentials outweigh any purported safety benefit of slowing down large trucks and buses. The Association has previously asked for the rulemaking proceeding to be withdrawn altogether.

“We’re thrilled that Congressmen Perry, LaMalfa, and Meadows filed an amendment to prohibit FMCSA from finalizing their proposed speed limiter mandate,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s government affairs director. “We’re doing everything we can to support their efforts and we’re optimistic it will pass.”

The amendment, No. 60, was “made in order” – clearing a necessary procedural hurdle – during a late night meeting of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. The Committee considered amendments to four of the eight sections of the giant appropriations bill. Four more sections will be considered on Wednesday. Approved amendments will then be up for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

As of press time, the Perry-led amendment No. 60 was 57th on the list of amendments slated for debate and a vote. There will be 10 minutes of debate on the amendment preceding the House vote. The vote could happen as early as Wednesday evening and will likely happen no later than Thursday, according to the schedule as presented Wednesday morning.

The Association opposes mandatory speed limiters, pointing to research that contradicts the feds’ claimed “safety benefits,” 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.

Members are encouraged to call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and urge their lawmaker to vote “yes” on the Perry speed limiter amendment, amendment No. 60.

Related articles:
Lawmakers move to head off mandate for speed-limiting devices
Researcher: Speed limiter proposal ‘a problem of perception’
OOIDA: Speed limiter proposal would make America’s highways more dangerous

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