September 16, 2016

The Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formally published its proposal to require all new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of 26,000 pounds to be electronically speed limited. The announcement comes 10 years after ATA petitioned the federal government to require this technology on all new trucks.

The agencies provided 60 days to receive comments on the proposed rulemaking. The proposal did not stipulate a preferred speed limit. It did however, provide data and analysis for three perspective speed limits: 60 mph, 65 mph, and 68 mph. The agencies state that setting the speed at 68 mph could save 27 to 96 lives per year; setting it at 65 mph could save 63 to 214 lives annually and at 60 mph could save 162 to 498 lives, but note that they do not have the same confidence about the data for the 60 mph alternative as the other two options. The maximum speed will be set when the final rule is published.


ATA’s Policy

The speed limit policy was first adopted in 10/07 (speed limit of 65) and amended in 10/08 (extended to all vehicles).  The speed governing policy was first adopted in 02/06 (limit of 68 mph for new vehicles) and amended in 10/08 (65 mph, retrofit to 1992 and greater tamper resistance).

Enact a national speed limit not to exceed 65 miles per hour [10/07] for all motor vehicles [10/08].  The trucking industry opposes the use of any mechanical or electrical devices that enable drivers to exceed the speed limit without being detected.

(8)    SPEED GOVERNING [10/08]
The speed of all electronically governed class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 used in commerce should be governed at a maximum speed not to exceed 65 mph.  Speed limiters on newly manufactured class 7 and 8 trucks should be made more tamperproof.  Although ATA does not have a position on setting speed limiters or engine control modules (ECMs) for passenger vehicles, it recommends states consider setting the speed limiters on the vehicles of drivers with certain driving convictions.


ATA’s Request for an Extension

On Friday, September 9th, ATA requested a 30-day extension to the announced 60 day comment period. This request was joined by 50 State Associations, the National Tank Truck Carriers, the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, the Truckload Carriers Conference, and was accompanied by a support letter from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

The need for the extension arose as state trucking associations, ATA member companies, as well as stakeholders reached out to ATA to raise questions and concerns about the rule. Most notably, a decade after ATA petitioned FMCSA/NHTSA, there are significant new issues to consider, such as increased state speed limits, the potential impacts of speed differentials on safety, and the drastic increases in technology and distracted driving. OOIDA has requested a 60-day extension.