Speed limiters among topics on FMCSA regulatory agenda

January 6, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Rulemakings for speed limiters, electronic IDs and electronic logging devices are all on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulatory agenda for 2023.

FMCSA released its most recent Unified Regulatory Agenda earlier this week.

According to the agenda, the agency plans to unveil a notice of proposed rulemaking on speed limiters in June and notices of proposed rulemakings on electronic IDs and ELD revisions in November.

Advance notices of proposed rulemakings on all three topics were issued in 2022. Each potential rulemaking met large opposition from truck drivers.

Speed limiters

FMCSA issued a supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding speed limiters in May.

Under the initial proposal, commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more and that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit capable of being governed would be subject to the mandate.

According to the Regulations.gov website, about 15,600 comments were submitted to the FMCSA regarding its notice about a potential speed limiter mandate. The turnout was dramatically larger than most FMCSA notices, and an overwhelming majority of the comments came from individual truck drivers opposed to the requirement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association used its comments to echo many of the concerns truck drivers have over a mandate, including the dangers of speed differentials, inability to accelerate to avoid crashes and being the victim of road rage incidents.

“DOT has spoken about the need to make trucking a more viable and sustainable career for those entering the industry and the millions of Americans already making their living behind the wheel,” OOIDA wrote. “These goals must be accomplished through a more practical, less burdensome regulatory approach rather than a heavy-handed speed limiter mandate that would limit the profitability of small-business truckers.”

However, FMCSA appears poised to continue with a rulemaking. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest report on significant rulemakings targeted June 30 for the release of a notice of proposed rulemaking, and this week’s regulatory agenda sticks with June as the target.

Still, don’t be surprised if it’s later in the summer before the agency unveils a formal proposal. FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson told Land Line in recent months that June is only an estimate, and that the agency is tasked with reading thousands of comments and evaluating costs, safety benefits and regulatory options before it can move forward.

Even after FMCSA issues a proposal, it would have to go through another round of comments and cost evaluation before it could issue a final rule.

Electronic IDs

FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in September that considers requiring all commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce to possess a unique electronic identifier. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance claims the mandate would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by allowing officers to focus their attention on high-risk carriers and drivers.

OOIDA, as well as many individual truck drivers, filed comments in opposition to a mandate.

“OOIDA and our members oppose this proposal in the strongest possible terms,” the Association wrote in formal comments to FMCSA. “Our members have been extremely clear that this concept is an unwarranted intrusion into their privacy, as well as an overly costly and burdensome requirement that does nothing to improve their efficiency or safety.”

FMCSA’s regulatory agenda shows that the agency is working toward a formal proposal. However, it won’t be until the final months of 2023 or later before a notice of proposed rulemaking is released.

ELD revisions

In 2022, FMCSA released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that considers changes to the ELD mandate in five areas.

  • Applicability to pre-2000 engines
  • Addressing ELD malfunctions
  • The process for removing an ELD from FMCSA’s list of certified devices
  • Technical specifications
  • ELD certification

Many truck drivers found issue with FMCSA considering removing the ELD exemption on older trucks.

OOIDA also pointed out that there is no evidence that ELDs have improved safety nor that the exempt trucks pose any danger. The crash stats have moved in the wrong direction since FMCSA began full enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate in 2018.

“OOIDA notes that this proposal is largely focused on expanding an unproven ELD mandate, whether by including drivers operating currently exempted equipment or increasing the types and frequency of data recorded by the devices,” the Association wrote. “It is disappointing the agency continues to ignore the genuine concerns drivers have with the recording and monitoring of their individual activities and movements.”

Like with electronic IDs, it doesn’t appear we will see any formal action regarding ELDs until November or later. LL