FMCSA Announces Speed Limiter Rulemaking

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is encouraging trucking companies and drivers to comment on a proposal to require speed limiters on commercial trucks. The concept of electronically limiting commercial vehicle speeds is not new to the trucking industry. As recently as 2016, FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly proposed a speed limiter rule in which the requirement would have been placed on truck manufacturers and did not include a specific maximum speed in the proposed rule.

In its release last month accompanying announcement of the rulemaking, FMCSA said it intends to move forward with a separate motor carrier-based speed limiter rule which would place the requirement on motor carriers and not on the manufacturer. FMCSA believes that placing the requirement on motor carriers will ensure compliance with the rule. FMCSA also appears to be considering three potential maximum speeds – 60 mph, 65 mph and 68 mph.

With this statement, FMCSA also indicated that it believes that the technology to limit speeds already exists in most commercial vehicles manufactured since 1999 in the form of electronic engine control units (ECUs) which electronically govern speeds to prevent engine or other damage to the vehicle. "Based on this background, it is likely the required means of achieving compliance with a speed limiter requirement would be to use the ECU to govern the speed of the vehicle rather than installing a mechanical means of doing so," FMCSA wrote in its notice last week.

The proposed rule would require that commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce and that are equipped with an ECU capable of setting speed limits, limit the CMV to a speed yet to be determined and to maintain that limit for the service life of the vehicle. 

If you want to have your voice heard, the agency is seeking comments from the industry within the month of May. FMCSA has many open questions for the rule, including what trucks to include and the maximum speed to be allowed. Just during the first couple of weeks, the agency had already received about 10,000 comments. 

Get your voice heard. You can either comment on the government website or attach a separate file. You can even be anonymous if you choose. Whatever your opinion, this proposed rule will change the trucking industry. Make sure your voice is heard. 

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