Saying it has “concerns about the number of CMV [commercial motor vehicle] crashes and fatalities traveling at high speeds,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing a new rule to mandate speed limiters on new commercial trucks.
In its “Speed Limiters Notice of Intent,” the FMCSA noted that 20% of fatal crashes involving a CMV happen in areas with posted speed limits of 70 mph or higher. FMCSA said, “The rule will help reduce crashes and save lives on our nation’s roadways.”
The notice follows a 2016 proposal that asked for comments from the industry as to maximum speeds. At the time, the speeds of 60, 65, and 68 mph were considered.
Industry experts greeted the proposal with a mixture of responses. Both the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have already released initial reactions to the proposal.
ATA has previously opposed such proposals that would limit speeds to 60 mph but would consider limiters at 70 mph for trucks with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. For trucks without that technology, ATA would consider a maximum speed of 65 mph.
ATA President Chris Spear said in a press release, “We intend to thoroughly review FMCSA’s proposal, and we look forward to working with the agency to shape a final rule that is consistent with our policy supporting the use of speed limiters in conjunction with numerous other safety technologies.”
For their part, the OOIDA has long argued that speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks could cause congestion and major differences in the speed of vehicles traveling on the nation’s highways.
OOIDA President Todd Spencer said, “What the motoring public should know is that when they are stuck behind trucks on long stretches of highway, those trucks are often limited to a speed well under the posted speed limit.”
The FMCSA said that the proposal is primarily about safety. In the 2016 version of the proposal, trucks over 26,000 pounds would be required to have equipment that limits the truck to a set maximum speed.
In its Notice of Intent, the FMCSA further said, “The National Roadway Safety Strategy identified speed as a major factor in fatal crashes, and speed management as a primary tool to reduce serious injuries and fatalities. FMCSA envisions the rule as a commonsense approach to reducing crashes and saving lives as the agency continues to work with drivers and advocates for the CMV community toward a goal of zero lives lost on our nation’s roadways.”