Speed limiter rule coming? DOT report says yes, and could be this year

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Updated Mar 14, 2014

truck-highwayJoining an already full trucking regulatory docket this year could be a rule that requires trucks to use speed limiters, though what the limited speed may be isn’t known.

This according to the Department of Transportation’s monthly report on significant rulemakings, which says the rule could be published Oct. 1.

The rule would join a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration agenda that already includes an e-log/recorder mandate, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, a driver coercion rule and the CSA-related Safety Fitness Determination rule.

Per the DOT report issued this week, the rulemaking is being done in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was spurred by petitions from the American Trucking Associations and Roadsafe America, who asked the agency to require speed limiters in trucks with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds.

Following NHTSA request for public comment on the ATA and Roadsafe petitions, the agency received “thousands of comments supporting the petition’s request,” according to the DOT report.

The rule, says FMCSA, “would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes” each year involving trucks that would be subject to the speed limiter rule.

“We believe this rule would have a minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set,” the DOT report reads.

FMCSA and NHTSA could have the rule to the Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx’s office for approval as early as May 21, according to the DOT report, and the rule could make to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget by June 26, with a projected clearance date of Sept. 25. At the meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in early February, FMCSA Associate Administor for Policy Larry Minor noted a limiters rule publication would necessarily “look for comment on whether this will need to be retroactive,” he said, or whether it would require retrofit of older equipment or apply only to new trucks. 

After the forecasted Oct. 1 publication date, a 60-day comment period could be expected to last through Dec. 1, according to the DOT report.

The DOT projections, however, are subject to change.

In a legal case dealing with speed limiters in 2012, a judge ruled limiters are unsafe and violate rights. –Todd Dills contributed to this report.