Feds set date for stability control proposed rule

Jill Dunn | February 10, 2012

This year, federal officials expect to publish proposed rules requiring expensive stability control devices on trucks, as well as a measure that could allow federal officials to better police rogue management employed by interstate carriers.

Federal transportation agencies are not necessarily bound to projected publication dates unless mandated by Congress or courts. Upon further analysis, agency representatives may conclude the rule’s effects would be different than originally believed and the rulemaking should be terminated. Also, department officials routinely encounter rulemaking delays, such as discovering additional coordination is necessary with other agencies.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration anticipates publishing separate Notices of Proposed Rulemakings that consider mandating stability control and speed limiters for trucks.

It set a NPRM April 30 publication date to require stability systems, estimated to cost $55 million to $107 million. If it eventually becomes a final rule, this new federal standard would require systems that address rollover and loss-of-control crashes to prevent an annual 304 fatalities and 2,738 injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects to issue an Aug. 12 notice for proposed rulemaking to mandate speed limiting devices for heavy trucks.

In 2006, the NHTSA received a petition from Roads Safe America and nine carriers, followed by a similar petition from the American Trucking Associations. Both petitions requested a rule requiring devices that would limit speed to 68 mph on new trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds.

However, the petition from the carriers and RSA additionally stipulated the devices be required for trucks manufactured 1990 and after.

The next year, NHTSA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a request for comments.

In 2011 NHTSA published a notice that feedback had been positive and it would proceed with rulemaking. It estimated one-time costs of $35 million to $50 million to develop tamper-resistant devices and a one-time cost of $150 million to $200 million to develop tamper-proof ones. That excluded additional costs for maximum speed, tire size and drive axle and transmission gear ratio information.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Truckload Carriers Association opposed the measure.

OOIDA cited a 1991 congressional report that stated the devices were unnecessary because high speed crashes represents a small percentage of all truck accidents. TCA commented the mandate would result in a speed differential between trucks and cars that would result in more crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration projected an Aug. 9 publication date for a NPRM amending regulations to allow it to stop interstate transportation by carriers employing officers with histories indicating a repeated disregard for safety compliance. It would define what constitutes a pattern of compliance avoidance and concealing noncompliance.

The FMCSA expects to publish a June 10 final rule that would remove a mandate that drivers operating intermodal equipment submit driver-vehicle inspection reports, even if unaware of defects.

Postponed publication dates for other rulemaking includes:

  • June 27 for an NPRM setting a Carrier Safety Fitness Determination based on crashes, inspections and violation data rather than just the standard compliance review.
  • February 2013 for a NPRM to allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to operate in interstate commerce without first seeking a FMCSA exemption.
  • A June 25 NPRM to create a database for verified positive controlled substances and alcohol test results for CDL holders and refusals by such drivers to submit to testing.
  • A Dec 31 final rule to replace the U.S. Department of Transportation number identification system, the commercial registration system, and the financial responsibility system, with a Unified Registration System.

The 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users mandated the rules regarding diabetes, rogue carrier officials and URS.

  • Allen Smith

    Many times speed limiters can cause more harm than good as far as safety is concerned, drivers know this.

    Many safety advocacy groups pushing for speed limiters look at it in “theory” only, but have never been driving a truck when limiting ones speed created a dangerous situation.

    As for the ATA petitioning, well, it would “even the playing field” with O/O’s…at least as far as speed limiters go anyway.

    We did a show discussing this and other regs
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking/2011/03/17/over-regulating-the-american-truck-driver

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