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8/26/2016 10:50:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

US Proposes Mandatory Speed Limiter Devices

Motor carriers operating the vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices for the service life of the vehicle, the proposal said.

Since this proposed rule would apply to both to vehicle manufacturers and motor carriers that purchase and operate these vehicles, the joint rulemaking is based on the authority of both NHTSA and FMCSA.

Although no specific speeds have been proposed, NHTSA said it has considered the benefits and costs of a 68-mph maximum set speed as requested in petitions filed in 2006 by American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America, as well as 60 mph and 65 mph maximum set speeds.

American Trucking Associations said the proposal is a “potential step forward for safety.”

“We are pleased NHTSA and FMCSA have, almost 10 years after we first petitioned them, released this proposal to mandate the electronic limiting of commercial vehicle speeds,” said ATA President Chris Spear. “Speed is a major contributor to truck accidents and by reducing speeds, we believe we can contribute to a reduction in accidents and fatalities on our highways.”

Although ATA recommended reducing the maximum speed to 68 mph in 2006, the federation in 2008 endorsed a national speed limit of no more than 65 mph for all vehicles.

However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the proposal would be dangerous for all highway users by creating speed differentials that could “lead to more crashes and promote road rage among other motorists.”

“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “This wisdom has always been true and has not ever changed. No technology can replace the safest thing to put in a truck, which is a well-trained driver.”

The proposal estimates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph would save 162 to 498 lives annually, limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 65 mph would save 63 to 214 lives annually, and limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 68 mph would save 27 to 96 lives annually. “Although we believe that the 60-mph alternative would result in additional safety benefits, we are not able to quantify the 60-mph alternative with the same confidence as the 65-mph and 68-mph alternatives,” the proposed rule said.

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By Eric Miller
Staff Reporter

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