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OOIDA asks Congress to back off on speed-limiter legislation

Oct. 20, 2016
Senate funding amendment would get around rulemaking process

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) continues to push back against federal government attempts to mandate speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks, asking members of the House to oppose legislation the Senate tucked into a Veterans Affairs funding bill.

In a letter to the leadership of the House Transportation committee, OOIDA points out that the Dept. of Transportation has already published a rulemaking on speed limiters—so Congress needs to back off.

“Circumventing the traditional rulemaking process with a legislatively imposed mandate would eliminate the ability of owner-operators to meaningfully participate in the development of a final rule, ignoring the sacrosanct ability of industry stakeholders to help shape the regulations affecting them,” reads the letter, signed by OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

The letter goes on to explain the importance of a complete rulemaking ail, noting the DOT proposal fails to specify how the installation of speed limiting devices will decrease crashes and instead focuses on how the rule may improve safety by reducing crash severity—“a notion discounts decades of research that proves increasing speed differentials between vehicles contributes to higher crash rates.”

OOIDA also outlines its broader opposition to such a mandate, pointing to the negative and “disconcerting” economic impact on the small-business truckers.

“Forcing the Agencies’ hand in issuing a mandate without fully considering these consequences would disregard the very serious threat this rule poses to the livelihood and survival of countless small-businesses, which comprise an overwhelmingly large portion of the trucking industry,” the letter states.

OOIDA also explains that industry stakeholders have asked for an extension of the public comment period, and expresses concern about “the lack of understanding surrounding this proposal and its true impact on our nation.”

“In light of these conditions, including a mandate in any federal spending measure would reverse the critical steps Congress recently took to promote a more informed and accountable rulemaking process,” OOIDA writes.

OOIDA is not alone in its opposition to the DOT plan: The American Trucking Assns. doesn’t much like the proposed speed limiter rule it’s been after for a decade, citing the proposal’s “insufficient data” and failure to make a recommendation regarding which of the three proposed speeds it believes is best and why.

OOIDA has issued a “call to action” on the matter, encouraging truckers to contact their representatives in Washington.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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