Oklahoma congressman's bill would block FMCSA speed limiter mandate

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Updated May 12, 2023
'Slow Down' painted on pavement

Major trucking industry advocacy groups are split in their reactions to a House of Representatives bill that would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from requiring speed-limiting technology on most heavy-duty trucks

On Tuesday, Oklahoma Rep. Josh Brecheen, a Republican, introduced the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, which would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from implementing any rule or regulation requiring vehicles over 26,000 pounds that are engaged in interstate commerce to be equipped with a speed limiting-device set to a maximum speed.

Brecheen said in a statement that the proposed speed-limiting regulation would negatively impact both the agricultural and trucking industries.

“This overreach by the Biden Administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries," said Brecheen. "I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment, and years spent hauling livestock, that the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C. This rule will add one more needless burden and Congress must stop it. For example, if a rancher is transporting cattle in a trailer across state lines, under this rule, the federal government would require a speed limiter device when above 26,000 lbs. Out-of-control bureaucrats are trying to impose ridiculous regulations on Americans who are trying to make ends meet.” 

RELATED NEWS: Feds reengaging on proposed rule to require speed limiters on trucks

Co-sponsors include Representatives Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania), Eric Burlison (R-Missouri),  John Moolenaar (R-Michigan), and Matt Rosendale (R-Montana). 

The American Trucking Associations, which supports the use of speed limiters, responded to Brecheen's legislation.

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“The easiest position anyone in Washington can take is ‘No.’ It requires little effort, zero facts and an unwillingness to compromise," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "ATA isn’t the association of ‘No.’ We put safety first. We deploy the best technology to help save lives. In short, we care about the motoring public, and we feel our position on a speed limiter rule is based on data, not baseless rhetoric,"

"Driving as fast as you can as long as you like kicks safety to the curb. It’s irresponsible. Safety is a winning issue and ATA enjoys winning. This issue is no exception." ATA'S Chris Spear

The ATA said it supports electronically governing Class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1992 used in commerce should be governed by tamperproof devices either limiting the vehicle to a fixed maximum of 65 mph; or limiting the vehicle to 70 mph with the use of adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The association said the Department of Transportation should conduct a recurring five-year review of speed governing regulations to ensure that the regulations are appropriate and consistent with currently deployed technologies.

ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan said, “These efforts to prohibit the development of safety policies are misguided, they will lead to more serious crashes, and this bill will never become law, even if it passes the House."

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had a different outlook.

“The physics is straightforward -- limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles and leads to more crashes,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “OOIDA and our 150,000 members in small business trucking across America thank Congressman Brecheen for his leadership in keeping our roadways safe for truckers and for all road users.”

Among the other organizations supporting Brhecheen's bill are the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, United States Cattlemen’s Association, Western States Trucking Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, and Towing and Recovery Association of America. 

FMCSA has said it intends to publish a proposed rule on speed limiters in June. The rule, which was first taken up in 2016, has no recommended speed that trucks would be limited to.