NHTSA and FMCSA Propose Speed Limiters for Large Commercial Vehicles
The agencies have not proposed a specific set speed but has considered the benefits of 60, 65, and 68 mph. Those three limits would save anywhere from 27 to 498 lives annually, they estimate.
Two DOT agencies, NHTSA and FMCSA, have released a proposed rule that would require new heavy-duty vehicles to be equipped with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roads and require the devices be set to a maximum speed. They claim this could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year, but they have not proposed a specific set speed. They have considered the benefits of 60, 65, and 68 mph and estimate those three limits would save anywhere from 27 to 498 lives annually.
"There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment."
"Although we believe that the 60 mph alternative would result in additional safety benefits, we are not able to quantify the 60 mph alternative with the same confidence as the 65 mph and 68 mph alternatives," the agencies state in the text of the proposed rule. They say that they did not include a retrofit requirement in the rule "because of concerns about the technical feasibility, cost, enforcement, and small business impacts of such a requirement. However, we are seeking public comment to improve our understanding of the real-world impact of implementing a speed limiting device retrofit requirement. As an alternative to a retrofit requirement, the agencies are also requesting comment on whether to extend the set speed requirement only to all CMVs with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds that are already equipped with a speed limiting device."
The proposal would establish safety standards requiring all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to come equipped with speed limiting devices.
"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."
"Safe trucking moves our economy and safe bus operations transport our loved ones," said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling III. "This proposal will save lives while ensuring that our nation’s fleet of large commercial vehicles operates fuel efficiently."
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.