Speed limiter rule at a standstill – for now

Speed limiter rule at a standstill – for now

The proposal requiring the installation of speed limiters on heavy trucks has come to a standstill – at least for now, according to an updated agency rule list released by the Office of Management and Budget.

Last week, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation moved the speed limiter mandate to a long-term item and off the active rulemakings list. After 10 years in the making, the proposed rule, announced Aug. 26, 2016, is a joint proposal of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The proposal suggests that speed limits of 60, 65 or 68 mph would be beneficial, and last December, FMCSA and NHTSA promised to consider public input before setting the actual number. The speed limit would be managed by a governing device and would apply to all newly-manufactured vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 lbs.

“We believe this rule would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set,” according to DOT. “This rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes annually involving vehicles with a GVWR of over 11,793.4 kg (26,000 lbs) on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or above.” 

In December, the DOT asked for public input to determine the speed setting in the proposed mandate. At the time, the American Trucking Assns., which had petitioned the government to come up with a mandate, said it supports a national speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles and tamperproof speed limiters for all heavy-duty trucks made after 1992. However, ATA pointed out the rule’s shortcomings:

  • The rule calls for speed limiters to be required only on new vehicles and would not require tamper proofing.
  • The lack of a national speed limit would result in “wide divergences” in speed between trucks and other traffic.
  • The agencies propose three speed options with “insufficient evidence” to justify a particular choice.
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