Modern Materials Handling | Fate of Proposed Speed Limiter Rule Remains Less than Certain

07.10.17 | Jeff Berman, Modern Materials Handling

In the name of too much government intervention or, perhaps restrictive regulations, President Trump made it clear upon taking office that too many regulations are bad for the nation’s business.

But when it came to a pending regulation calling for the requirement of electronic limiting of truck speeds, it seemed clear that the writing was on the wall for that regulation to not see the light of day, which remains the case still today.

And to be sure, there are many who think that is a bad thing, especially when considering some of the sound reasoning and logic that went into this specific regulation, which was issued in the form of a proposed rule last September.

As drafted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the speed limiter rule would require all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed limiting devices. It would not require retrofitting of older trucks.

DOT and NHTSA said last fall that requiring speed limiting devices on heavy vehicles could save lives, as well as an estimated $1 billion in fuel costs per year.  Although the government did not say exactly what the top speed of the governors would be, the proposed ruling would require those devices to be set to a maximum speed. The proposal discussed the benefits of setting the maximum speeds at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but former DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said in August that the DOT “will consider other speeds based on public input.”

At the FTR conference in Indianapolis last September, Schneider CEO Mark Rourke said that his company’s fleet has been utilizing speed limiters for 7 years, while seeing an increase in fuel economy and a reduction in crashes. To be sure, Schneider is not the only example of a large carrier seeing multiple benefits of speed limiters.

Despite the good intentions of the speed limiter rule, they now may likely no longer be as relevant if the proposed rule simply goes away, as per Trump’s mandate to eliminate regulations. What happens now is anyone’s guess, but for something that once looked pretty promising in terms of coming to fruition, it now seems a lot further from the finish line than it once was.

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