Speed limiter mandate introduced in U.S. House; OOIDA vows to oppose

May 26, 2021

Greg Grisolano

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A Georgia lawmaker is once again pushing for Congress to adopt a speed limiter mandate for large trucks and buses.

Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., introduced the bill on Monday, May 24. According to a joint news release, the bill would make into law a speed limiter rule that has been under consideration for more than a decade. The full text of the bill is not yet available.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes mandating speed limiters in commercial vehicles, arguing that such devices actually inhibit safety, by increasing interactions between trucks and other vehicles, thereby increasing the likelihood of a crash.

A trucker for more than two decades, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh has seen firsthand the dangers of split speeds in his home state of Ohio.

“Traffic going the same speed is safer,” he said. “As someone who has sat in the driver’s seat for 20-plus years and over 2 million miles, I know you need to be able to have full control of your vehicle.

“Everyone in the trucking industry wants to see safer drivers, equipment, and highways,” Pugh said. “We all want safety that works. That begins with a well-trained driver behind the wheel.”

Letter to Secretary Buttigieg

In March, OOIDA sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, urging him to reject a speed limiter proposal that was resurrected earlier this year by the American Trucking Associations, which would mandate that trucks operate at a speed of either 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour, well below the maximum speed limit in nearly every state.

In that letter, OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said that speed limiters would provide large carriers an even greater competitive advantage over small businesses.

“Drivers hate speed limiters because of the operational and safety problems they create,” Spencer’s letter states. “Large carriers would love nothing more than to ensure every truck and carrier is stuck with these devices, so their drivers stop fleeing for jobs at more trucker-friendly carriers.” LL

The Association created a video to demonstrate the dangers of speed limiters.

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Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.