Trucking Industry Mixed on Speed-Limiter Rules

The American Trucking Associations got what it wanted from the federal government after transportation regulators announced they would look into requiring speed-limiting devices for large trucks and buses. Other trucking groups oppose the plan.

Proposed federal rules that could slow down big rigs on the nation’s highways are being welcomed by one major trucking group. But other, smaller groups aren’t happy with the plan.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a proposal to require that large trucks and buses be equipped with devices that would limit their maximum speed. The exact speed hasn’t been decided, but the government is considering 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour.

“There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment.”

The American Trucking Associations welcomed the proposal and noted that the association has been pushing for such a rule for about a decade.

“We are pleased NHTSA and FMCSA have, almost 10 years after we first petitioned them, released this proposal to mandate the electronic limiting of commercial vehicle speeds,” Spear said in a news release. “Speed is a major contributor to truck accidents, and by reducing speeds, we believe we can contribute to a reduction in accidents and fatalities on our highways.”

The standard doesn’t give the association everything it wants. ATA also recommended a national speed limit as part of its 18-point highway safety agenda in 2008.

Smaller Groups Critical

Less welcoming of the proposed rule was the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a small-business-focused group that has raised concern over taking speed control out of the drivers’ hands, particularly as drivers must sometimes accelerate to avoid dangerous situations.

“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said Todd Spencer, the group’s executive vice president, in a news release. “This wisdom has always been true and has not ever changed.”

The Western States Trucking Association suggested that the devices will have minimal value.

“From a practical standpoint, the blow-back I’m expecting is this is just another useless government mandate since the fixed limit is likely to be higher than the speed trucks can legally travel in many states,” Joe Rajkovacz, WSTA director of governmental affairs, told

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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