Speed Limiters

On Wednesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice indicating that the agency will move forward with a rule to require speed limiting devices on commercial vehicles.

In a Notice of Intent document published on April 27, the FMCSA “announces its intent to proceed with a speed limiter rulemaking by preparing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to follow up on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s and FMCSA’s jointly issued September 7, 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking on this subject.”

The FMCSA plans to propose that any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more be equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) that will be capable of governing speed to a limit that will be determined during the rulemaking process.

As part of the planned rulemaking process, the FMCSA will ask the public for comment on the adjustment or reprogramming of ECUs. Once a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, public comments will be accepted.

Calls for a speed limiter rule have been increasing in 2022. Late last month, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. John Katko pushed for CMV speed limiters when they introduced the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act in the House, which would “codify into law a “speed limiter” rule that has been under consideration for more than a decade.”

Earlier this year, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in partnership with safety group Road Safe America, sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling for transportation officials to enact a rule requiring speed limiter devices on all vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposes any attempt to require speed limiters, arguing that they “increase congestion and speed differentials between trucks and cars, which ultimately lead to more crashes. Additionally, arbitrary speed limits make it difficult for truck drivers to switch lanes to accommodate merging traffic at entrance ramps – or to merge themselves.”

OOIDA also says that speed limiters give an unfair advantage to larger carriers over small business truckers.

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