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Speed Limiters Are Coming, DOT Says

Since the Department of Transportation on Aug. 29 unveiled a proposal to mandate truck speed limiter devices on trucks, concerns have been raised about its possible negative impact on trucking capacity.

The DOT proposal would require speed limiting devices on all new manufactured trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds.

The rulemaking is being jointly developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The change has been long sought by American Trucking Associations, which believes it will promote highway safety while eliminating scofflaw truck operators who compete unfairly by exceeding legal speed limits.

“We are pleased NHTSA and FMCSA have, almost 10 years after we first petitioned them, released this proposal to mandate the electronic limiting of commercial vehicle speeds,” says ATA President Chris Spear.

He adds, “Carriers who already voluntarily use speed limiters have found significant safety, as well as fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan benefits with little to no negative impact on productivity.”

DOT also is seeking public comments on whether it should set the maximum speed at 60, 65 or 68 mph.

Owner-operators are not thrilled by the prospect. “No technology can replace the safest thing to put in a truck, which is a well-trained driver,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“If all of the affected owner-operators worked for trucking companies as independent contractors, they would lose $54 million in labor income.”

DOT admits that independent drivers will be hurt. “If all of the affected owner-operators worked for trucking companies as independent contractors, they would lose $54 million in labor income,” FMCSA and NHTSA estimate.

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