Agency to consider speed limiter rule in 2012

| December 30, 2010

More than four years after the trucking industry asked the federal government to mandate speed limiters on new heavy-duty trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it will launch a rulemaking on the issue in 2012.

In August, senior officials NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told proponents of speed limiters they anticipated making a formal decision on launching a rulemaking by the end of 2010.

According to a notice to be published in the Jan. 3 Federal Register, NHTSA is granting two separate petitions for rulemaking filed in 2006 – one by the American Trucking Associations and the other by safety advocacy group Road Safe America along with nine trucking companies – Schneider National, C.R. England, H.O. Wolding, ATS Intermodal, Dart Transit, J.B. Hunt, U.S. Xpress, Covenant Transport and Jet Express.

Both petitions proposed installation of devices on new trucks that would limit top speed to 68 mph on trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds. The major difference between the petitions is that Road Safe America and its nine carrier allies also want speed limiters mandated on all existing trucks built after 1990.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed, however. “Speed limiting a truck at 68 miles per hour, or at any other speed, will not improve highway safety,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “All credible highway research shows that highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same speed and that different speeds for cars and trucks actually increase the likelihood of accidents.”

A study conducted by the University of Arkansas showed that speed limit differences between trucks and cars increase speed differentials, which create more dangerous interactions between trucks and cars, OOIDA noted in a news release. Also, a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that speed limited trucks are overrepresented in rear-end fatalities involving large trucks. Four percent of all trucks are speed limited, yet half of the rear-end fatalities involving trucks were with speed-limited trucks, the association said.

NHTSA’s notice granting the petitions does not explain why it won’t begin the rulemaking for more than a year. The notice does mention, however, that NHTSA expects FMCSA to publish findings of a study on the safety impact and associated economic benefits of speed limiters in commercial motor vehicles.

The decision to grant the petitions from ATA and Road Safe America to conduct a rulemaking does not mean that a final rule will be issued, NHTSA said in its Federal Register notice. “The determination of whether to issue a rule is made after study of the requested action and the various alternatives in the course of the rulemaking proceeding, in accordance with statutory criteria.”

Even if NHTSA doesn’t ultimately adopt the specific rule ATA and Road Safe America seek, speed limiters would become more common under another rule NHTSA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already propose related to heavy-truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Under the EPA/NHTSA proposal, truck manufacturers would face mandates to increase fuel efficiency of tractor-trailers though use of several technologies, including vehicle speed limiters.

More information on the petitions for rulemaking and comments on those petitions are available at by searching NHTSA-2007-26851.



  • Dave Marx

    One for all ,all for one. If you do it to one ,do it to everyone….

  • Gordon Alkire

    There was in recent past this horrible bill passed in Canada in spite of opposition by the RANKS.
    Now I see that some reporter says the Trucking industry is pushing for this. What a crock. The industry does not promote this speed limiter. To be required to install them on trucks made from 1990 to present.
    It the non driver oriented ATA and large carrier that in my opinion knuckling under to out side pressures that is seeking this detrimental un-needed speed limiter fiasco .
    Why do some of these organizations that know absolutely nothing about the transportation industry seem to want to change it? First of all we are not the unsafe drivers that the public seems to think we are. Think about why does the public think this way anyway.

    Government studies show that 85% to 88% of of car truck accidents are caused by the car driver. Put limiters on cars. Put EOBR in cars and see the real problem in short order.Then the real problem can be targeted.

    The driving schools need to have a more in-depth teaching procedure and produce better trained drivers. More hands on training,More time behind the wheel training. A better understanding of how this industry works.

    Poor schools release on the public poor drivers. These drivers effect the industry in a negative way and this in turn is one of the reasons we have every Tom Dick and Harry trying to change The transportation industry.
    Of course ignorant reporters that don’t know the difference between a pickup truck and a Commercial vehicle and sensationalists don’t help either.

    It is we, the drivers first and companies second that have the power to positively change the industry the right way. From within. From behind the steering wheel.By setting an example for others to be guided by. Are the newbies to the industry blame? Yes, to some extent they are.

    We the professionals make driving a truck look easy, so easy in fact, that many think anyone can do it. Then at the first sign of stress or problem the newbies bail. Thereby adding to the illusion of a driver shortage

    Many companies have loosened or dropped their dress codes. Many carriers do not require good personal habits from their drivers.
    To many of the large carriers it is more important to get that load moved at all costs including driver health than to help improve the image the public sees.
    The professional image we all in this industry would like to have back. High standards can produce better drivers, better work ethics,and less turn over for carriers.
    Companies can evoke a change by applying a dress code and adhering to it.. By setting higher standards and goals for hiring drivers.
    It is not the truck that gets the loads delivered. It is the drivers.

    We, the drivers are the army that is needed to do this industry repair. we, however have a history of not sticking together. That void is taken over by the Tom,DICK and Harry s and uninformed legislators doing what they can to destroy free enterprise as we know it.
    If you don’t want to be unemployed, under appreciated, over worked we need to stick together. We all have a common goal. Is it worth fighting for. Is it worth the sacrifice to build strength, livable wages and security in our chosen field.?
    If you want to be called a professional and treated like one YOU have to earn that title.

    I have never heard the term Professional dumpster diver but I see many that fit that description in trucks.
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