The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a proposal August 26, 2016 that would require commercial vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices (also known as speed limiters.) The new regulation would apply to trucks weighing more than 26,000 lbs.
The proposal does not include a specific speed to which trucks will be limited. The speed limits that have been suggested include 60, 65 and 68 mph; additional research and analysis needs to be completed before a decision is reached.
The proposal states that a standard will be set and each vehicle will have its device set to that speed limit when it is manufactured and sold. Every vehicle that qualifies under the ruling will be equipped with a device that will read the vehicle’s current speed setting as well as its past settings through its onboard diagnostic connection.
Interstate carriers who operate vehicles that meet the requirement will be required to maintain the speed limiting device for the life of the vehicle.
“Even small increases in speed have a large effect on the force of an impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and environment” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
According to the DOT, review of data indicates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles reduces the severity of crashes and reduces fatalities and injuries. In addition to saving lives, the DOT maintains that implementing the speed-limiter devices could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year, making the proposed regulation a win for safety, reducing fuel costs for transportation companies as well as helping the environment.
Many carriers that are already using speed limiter devices voluntarily have experienced an increased level of on-road safety as well as fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan with little or no negativity to productivity.
The DOT is seeking public comment on the rule for 60 days following its official publication in the Federal Register. The DOT is seeking input on two issues:
- What should the speed limit for heavy-duty trucks be?
- Should the mandate apply to all trucks or only new trucks?
The DOT will use comments submitted by the trucking industry as well as other interested parties when developing the actual mandate. To learn more about trucking regulatory compliance, risk management, and coverages, contact us.