This week, a bill was introduced in the House that would ban the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from passing rules requiring speed limiter devices on vehicles.
The bill, known as Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act or H.R.3039, was introduced on May 2, 2023, by Oklahoma Rep. Josh Brecheen.
The bill would “prohibit the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from issuing a rule or regulation requiring certain vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices, and for other purposes.”
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and currently has five co-sponsors.
“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.”
“This overreach by the Biden Administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries. 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.,” said Brecheen. “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.”
“The National Association of Small Trucking Companies strongly supports the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE Act). Mandating speed limiters on commercial vehicles would increase speed differentials between cars and trucks, increase traffic density, and increase impatience and risky driving by those behind a plodding truck. Mandatory speed limiters would likely cost more lives and cause more accidents and injuries. NASTC commends the DRIVE Act for stopping a predictable regulatory disaster,” said David Owen, President, National Association of Small Trucking Companies.
Trade groups supporting the bill include:
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- Livestock Marketing Association
- National Association of Small Trucking Companies
- National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA)
- Owner Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
- Western States Trucking Association
The bill was drafted in response to a Notice of Intent document published by the FMCSA in April 2022 in which the agency announced 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.
More than 15,600 public comments were received by the FMCSA on the speed limiter proposal.
While the FMCSA specifically requested comments on the programming or adjustment of ECUs that could be made to impose speed limits on CMVs, a large number of commenters took the opportunity to point out potential problems with a federal speed limiter mandate. Many of the commenters instead expressed concern about highway safety and road rage if the speed limiter rule goes into effect. Many also called for better enforcement of passenger vehicle driver behavior in place of limiting the speed on CMVs in order to improve highway safety.