Bill to stop speed limiters gains supporters

February 14, 2024

Mark Schremmer


An effort to stop the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from requiring speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks has gained a little more support.

This month, Reps. Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J., and Byron Donalds, R-Fla., became co-sponsors of the DRIVE Act. With the recent additions, the bill now has 34 co-sponsors in the House.

Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Okla., introduced the DRIVE Act, or HR3039, last year. The bill would prevent FMCSA from moving forward with any rulemaking that attempts to mandate speed-limiting devices on commercial motor vehicles.

FMCSA issued an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking regarding speed limiters in 2022. The agency is projected to unveil a formal proposal that includes a top speed in May. As shown by the 15,000 comments delivered to the agency in response to the first notice, an overwhelming majority of truck drivers are opposed to a speed limiter mandate.

Many lawmakers have spoken up for truck drivers, pointing to dangerous speed differentials, states’ rights and unintended consequences as reasons mandatory speed limiters would be a bad idea.

Van Drew was among the lawmakers who made their opposition of speed limiters known at a House subcommittee hearing in December.

“These drivers give many examples of situations in which they need to accelerate for safety, whether it’s merging into highway speed traffic, building momentum to go up a hill or simply keeping up with the flow of traffic,” Van Drew said. “It is a hard and difficult job, and they do it well. Your policy would take those options away from them. We’re tired of this. We’re tired of big government. One gentleman, his comment was, ‘This is a stupid idea. The policy is overreach.’ We’re tired of overreach. It’s a classic example of government coming to save us … There’s a lot of independent truckers, and they would be harmed by this policy.”

Brecheen told Land Line Now in May that states should be allowed to determine their speed limits and that a speed limiter mandate would aim to remove that ability. Many states that once had separate speed limits for cars and heavy-duty trucks changed their laws because they found it safer for vehicles traveling on the same road to be operating at the same speed.

“We need the ability to have our state legislators and state senators to listen to the people and make adjustments,” Brecheen told Land Line Now. “When the federal government does something, it’s put in place, and ingenuity and creativity is often lost. We need the ability to adjust to different conditions.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents small-business truckers, opposes a speed limiter mandate and encourages support for the DRIVE Act. LL