The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) long-debated proposal to mandate speed limiters on commercial motor vehicles has hit another roadblock. The anticipated deadline of December 29, 2023, for releasing the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, has come and gone, raising concerns about the future of this controversial regulation. This blog will delve into the recent developments, the background of the speed limiter proposal, and the various perspectives surrounding this initiative.
The idea of implementing speed limiters on commercial vehicles is not a new one, with discussions dating back to 1991 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a report on the topic. The recent resurgence of the proposal came in 2022, following an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking by the FMCSA. The agency’s efforts to address concerns raised in over 15,000 comments from its 2022 advance notice led to delays, pushing the initial target date from June 2023 to December 29, 2023.
Opposition and Controversy
The opposition to speed limiters is multi-faceted, with truck drivers expressing concerns about speed differentials, increased stress, and limited maneuverability. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposes any speed limiter mandate, emphasizing the dangers of large speed differentials and the need for states to set their speed limits. Lawmakers have also entered the fray, introducing the DRIVE Act to prevent FMCSA from mandating speed limiters.
Perspectives on Speed Limiters
Amidst the controversy, various organizations have voiced their opinions on speed limiters. The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) supports implementing tamper-proof devices to govern the speed of Class 7 and 8 trucks. Safety groups advocate for a maximum speed of 60 mph, contrasting with the American Trucking Association (ATA)’s stance, which supports a top speed of 70 mph for trucks equipped with additional technology and 65 mph for those without such enhancements. On the legislative front, Rep. Josh Brecheen introduced the DRIVE Act to resist the imposition of speed limiters, asserting that a one-size-fits-all approach is impractical and burdensome for businesses.
Missed Deadlines and Uncertain Future
The recent failure to meet the December 29, 2023 deadline has raised questions about the FMCSA’s ability to move forward with the speed limiter proposal. The requirement for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review further extends the timeline, with the possibility of the rulemaking process stretching well into 2025. As the agency navigates through these challenges, the fate of the speed limiter proposal remains uncertain.
As a leading trucking software and services company in the US, we provide a unique perspective on the speed limiter proposal. Recognizing the importance of technology in the trucking industry, we acknowledge the potential benefits of speed limiters, particularly in enhancing overall safety and compliance. However, we emphasize the need for a balanced approach that considers the operational impact on fleets and drivers. TMS-Digital advocates for smart and adaptable solutions that align with the evolving landscape of trucking technology.
The FMCSA’s pursuit of a speed limiter rule faces ongoing challenges, with missed deadlines, opposition from industry stakeholders, and legislative resistance. The debate surrounding speed limiters intensifies, highlighting the complex considerations in implementing such regulations. As the industry awaits further developments, the future of speed limiters on commercial motor vehicles remains an open question, with safety, economic, and practical concerns at the forefront of the ongoing discussion.