The association, which represents independent truck drivers, said Congress should not mandate the devices on commercial vehicles, and instead let the regulatory process play out.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to exclude language from any federal spending measures that mandate the installation of speed limiters on heavy commercial vehicles.
OOIDA said that mandating the devices on commercial vehicles would undermine the regulatory process and take away the public’s ability to make informed comments to an already proposed rule.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require U.S. trucks larger than 26,000 pounds to have devices that set their maximum speed at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour, with the final outcome still to be determined.
OOIDA pointed out that language currently included in the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill would force the FMCSA and NHTSA to issue a final rule that mandates this policy, making it more difficult for the industry to influence the rulemaking through the traditional process.
The association said Congress should allow the rulemaking process to continue, rather than imposing a mandate through the appropriations process.
“Congress has never analyzed the effect of mandating lower speeds for heavy vehicles through any public hearing or forum,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “We believe the Senate’s first significant action on the issue should not be in the form of mandating something that decades of research has proven increases the likelihood of crashes between trucks and other vehicles.
“Such a mandate would have serious consequences such as promoting road rage among other motorists and creating ‘rolling roadblocks’ of trucks on highways,” said Spencer. “Many states that used to have lower, separate speed limits for trucks have realized this was not the best idea and changed their policies to the same speed limit for all vehicles.
“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed. This wisdom is backed by science. NHTSA’s messages have promoted the practice for years based upon their own research, going back decades.”
The American Trucking Associations and large motor carriers support the rulemaking.