Proposed Truck Speed Limiters Expected to Improve Highway Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing a new rule that would set maximum travel speeds for heavy-duty vehicles. Set forth by the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the new rule is expected to save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel annually.

According to the DOT, the proposal would establish safety standards requiring all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds to come equipped with speed-limiting devices.

The proposal discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but the agencies will consider other speeds based on public input, the DOT reports. “This is basic physics,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”

Motor carriers operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce would be responsible for maintaining the speed limiting devices at or below the designated speed for the service life of the vehicle under the proposal. While the maximum set travel speed will be determined in the final rule, estimates included in the proposal demonstrate that limiting heavy vehicles will save lives.

Highway Safety

According to Heavy Duty Trucking’s DOT Finally Proposes Truck Speed-Limiter Rule,

FMCSA is proposing a complementary Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation that would require each commercial motor vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds be equipped with a speed limiting device meeting the requirements of the proposed FMVSS applicable to the vehicle at the time of manufacture, including the requirement that the device be set to a speed not greater than a specified speed.

In addition, carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices for the service life of the vehicle, Heavy Duty Trucking reports.

According to the DOT, limiting the speed of heavy vehicles would reduce the severity of crashes involving these vehicles and reduce the resulting fatalities and injuries. “There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, in a department press release. “In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment.”

It is also important to note that many carriers already set their own standards for their vehicles—including the installation of speed-limiting governors on those vehicles.

Here at Odyssey we are keeping an eye on the new highway safety regulations and will keep you updated as DOT’s proposal moves through the approval process. If you have any specific questions about your supply chain and how it will be impacted by these new requirements, please reach out to your Odyssey representative.