Support for a bill that would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from moving forward with a rule to mandate speed limiters has gradually increased in recent weeks.
HR3039, the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen Wheelers Act, is up to 19 co-sponsors after adding six in June.
Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Okla., introduced HR3039 in May as part of an effort to prevent the agency from forcing most commercial motor vehicles to install speed-limiting devices. Supporters of Brecheen’s bill point to the dangerous speed differentials and other unintended consequences the mandate would cause.
“You have states with 85 mph speed limits, and then you have someone texting and driving and not paying attention and then rear ends (the truck),” Brecheen said. “Let’s say that tractor-trailer has an excavator on the back … there’s no opportunity (to correct) going 30 mph less when that person gets rear-ended … That’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about here – a 30 mph difference, because one is limited by federal law and the other is traveling 30 mph faster because of state law.”
Last week, Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., signed on to the bill. Earlier in the month, Reps. Gregory Steube, R-Fla.; Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo.; Michael McCaul, R-Texas; and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., became co-sponsors.
OOIDA supports the stop speed limiters bill
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports HR3039 and is encouraging its more than 150,000 members to contact their lawmakers about becoming a co-sponsor.
“By establishing a one-size-fits-all federal mandate restricting commercial motor vehicles to a speed as low as 60 mph, this regulation would also undoubtedly lead to higher crash rates by creating dangerous speed differentials between (commercial motor vehicles) and other vehicles, such as automobiles,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh wrote in his submitted testimony to a House subcommittee in May. “Decades of highway research shows greater speed differentials increase interactions between trucks and cars, and studies have consistently demonstrated that increasing interactions between vehicles directly increases the likelihood of crashes.”
Thousands of truck drivers spoke out in opposition of a speed limiter mandate when the FMCSA requested public feedback last year.
The agency is expected to publish a notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking for speed limiters later this year.
“You should start looking for it by the end of summer or early fall,” FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson said in an interview with Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson. “It’s a little behind where we thought we would be, but we take the comments very seriously, and we need to spend some time with them.”
The forthcoming proposal should include a recommended top speed. Some of the possibilities include 60, 65 and 68 mph. LL