Legislation Bus/limo/taxi Trucking Transportation

Bill would halt FMCSA’s movement on speed limiters

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — Legislation recently introduced in the House would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from requiring speed-limiting devices on large trucks and buses.

Sponsored by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK), the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers, or DRIVE, Act (H.R. 3039) covers trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

Brecheen is a fourth-generation rancher and former trucking company operator. “I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment, and years spent hauling livestock, that the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C.,” he said in a press release.

In May 2022, FMCSA published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking that expands on a 2016 joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA that would require speed limiters. FMCSA is the lone agency listed on the proposal, which doesn’t specify a top speed. The 2016 proposal suggested capping speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph.

The Department of Transportation’s Fall 2022 regulatory agenda lists June as a target date for publication of a second proposed rule.

Multiple industry groups back Breechen’s bill, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, and the Towing and Recovery Association of America. The American Trucking Associations, meanwhile, supports FMCSA’s proposal and recommends a recurring, five-year review of “speed-governing regulations” to ensure they remain consistent with current technology.

“These efforts to prohibit the development of safety policies are misguided,” Bill Sullivan, executive vice president of advocacy at ATA, said in a press release. “They will lead to more serious crashes – and this bill will never become law, even if it passes the House.”

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