ATA wants more time to comment on speed limiter proposal

May 19, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Last week, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that more time is needed to respond to a proposal that would mandate speed limiters on most commercial motor vehicles.

Now, the American Trucking Associations also is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for more time.

In a letter that was posted to the proposal’s docket on May 16, the ATA asked FMCSA for a 30-day extension to the comment period.

“The complexity of the issues presented in this notice constitutes good cause for allowing additional time to comment, to ensure that accurate data can be obtained from our members,” the ATA wrote.

“In addition, collection and submission of such information, by ATA and other commenters, is in the public interest because it will assist the agency in making informed safety decisions that will affect not only the motor carriers who operate under these regulations but also the public who share our nation’s roadways.”

Earlier this month, FMCSA published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking to mandate speed limiters on most commercial motor vehicles. Commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more and that are equipped with an electric engine control unit capable of being governed would be subject to the mandate. A speed had not been determined, but previous proposals floated the possibilities of 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

The agency also said it was considering making the rule applicable only to commercial motor vehicles manufactured after a certain date, such as 2003. FMCSA plans to use the comments to determine if that approach should be revised in a later proposal.

On May 13, OOIDA also told FMCSA that more time was needed to respond, and it asked for a 60-day extension.

“This is one of the most overreaching proposed rulemakings in decades as it relates to the safety of the traveling public, roadway efficiency and the livelihoods of our nation’s professional truck drivers,” OOIDA wrote.

“Our members are on the road and away from home up to 250 days or more each year. Considering what is at stake, as well as the amount of time and resources it will take to develop meaningful feedback, we believe FMCSA should grant a 60-day extension to file comments.”

For now, the current deadline remains June 3. If either ATA’s or OOIDA’s request is granted, the comment period would be extended to July 3 or Aug. 2, respectively.

As of the afternoon of Wednesday, May 18, more than 11,300 comments had already been submitted to the docket.

A sampling of the comments points to an overwhelming majority of truck drivers in opposition to the mandate.

“I’ll be in more danger with speed limiters,” Joel Hamilton wrote. “Don’t make driving more dangerous.”

Considering that there are highways with speed limits of 80 and 85 mph, a speed limiter mandate could mean that trucks would be forced to 25 mph or slower than the flow of traffic. Many commenters said this would lead to road rage incidents.

“This is going to cause significantly more road rage from four wheelers than lives it might ever save,” Chris Ervin wrote.

“I am a semi driver that is already governed. I deal with enough road rage from four wheelers already. This is a bad idea. More people will die from car stupidity if you do this.”

OOIDA encourages all truck drivers to submit comments on the speed limiter notice.

The Association has made the process easy through its Fighting for Truckers website. The public also can go to the Regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0004. LL

Truckstop.com

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.