In an effort to reduce roadway fatalities and greatly reduce fuel costs, two federal agencies have proposed that speed limiters be installed in certain commercial vehicles that would limit how fast they can travel. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are behind the proposed rule.
The proposal could become final following a public comment period. The studies cited in the proposal show that limiting the speed of large vehicles will save lives.It is estimated that savings of more than $1 billion in fuel costs could result. The possible top speeds discussed in the proposal are between 60 and 68 miles per hour.
The responsibility for maintenance of the limiter devices would fall on the companies that have commercial vehicles that travel between states as part of their fleets. The speed limiters would be required for all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 26,000 pounds. This includes not only trucks but also passenger vehicles and buses.
Not everyone is in favor of the speed limiting devices. According to Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine, the American Trucking Association has expressed concerns. While the ATA is not opposed to speed limiters in general, it does take issue with the way their use is being proposed. In particular, they are concerned that the limits discussed in the proposal are lower than the state speed limits on many roads. Trucks traveling at a lower speed than the cars surrounding them would only present a greater risk, they argue. It remains to be seen whether the rules will be adopted.