Speed-limiter proposal reaches White House for review

Speed-limiter proposal reaches White House for review

Speed limiters for heavy trucks are a step closer to becoming federally mandated, as the White House on Tuesday received the proposed rule from the Dept. of Transportation.

Details of the rule, developed jointly by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), will not be made public until the Office of Management and Budget reviews the estimated costs and benefits of the proposal.

If cleared, the proposed rule will be published and the public will have 60 days to weigh in on the details. The May regulatory calendar from the DOT projects the rule will clear OMB Aug. 15 and be published Aug. 27—that’s a month later than the projection in the April update.

American Trucking Assns. and Road Safe America, a highway safety interest group, originally petitioned FMCSA for a speed limiter setting of 68 mph in 2006. More recently, ATA has called for a 65 mph setting.

“We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate, but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now,” said Bill Graves, ATA’s president and CEO, in a statement last month. 

In response to a recent Associated Press investigation that detailed truck tire failures being caused because of higher speeds, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind promised quick action on the regulation, calling speed limiters the best option to prevent truck drivers from exceeding the design limits on most commercial vehicle tires.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has testified the regulation has been delayed over the years by research and cost-benefit analyses.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) has pushed back, however, contending there is “a lack of solid science” to back up such a mandate and that speed-limited trucks “would make highways less safe.”

The nearly 4,000 comments submitted for the  joint rulemaking petition can be reviewed on Regulations.gov.

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