WASHINGTON (Sept. 7, 2016) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have issued a joint proposed rule that would require heavy trucks and buses to be equipped with speed limiting devices.
Published in the Sept. 7 Federal Register, the proposal would apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more.
The rule would require the devices on those vehicles to be set no higher than a yet-to-be-specified speed, and also that each device be equipped with a means of reading both the current speed setting and the previous two settings through onboard diagnostics.
“Based on the agencies' review of the available data, limiting the speed of these heavy vehicles would reduce the severity of crashes involving these vehicles and reduce the resulting fatalities and injuries,” said the summary to the Federal Register document.
“We expect that, as a result of this joint rulemaking, virtually all of these vehicles would be limited to that speed,” it said.
Trucking associations are sharply divided about the merits of the proposed rule.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA), which represents large truck fleets, has long advocated a mandate for speed limiting devices on large vehicles.
“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 the highways,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear on Aug. 26, when NHTSA and the FMCSA first announced their intention to promulgate speed limiting device rulemaking.
However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents small truck fleets and single-truck owner-operators, said requiring speed limiting devices would create speed differentials that would only cause more accidents and road rage incidents.
“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “This wisdom has always been true and has not ever changed.
“No technology can replace the safest thing to put in a truck, which is a well-trained driver,” Mr. Spencer added.
NHTSA and the FMCSA are requesting comments on the proposal until Nov. 7. The notice can be found by clicking here.