The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to exclude language from any federal spending measures that mandates the installation of speed limiters on heavy commercial vehicles.
The association says that to do so would undermine the regulatory process and take away the public’s ability to make informed comments to an already proposed rule.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced recently a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require U.S. trucks larger than 26,000 pounds be set at a maximum speed of 60 or 65 or 68 miles per hour.
OOIDA points out that language currently included in the Senate THUD bill would force the FMCSA and NHTSA to issue a final rule that mandates this policy, ignoring the sacrosanct ability of industry stakeholders to help shape the regulations affecting them through the traditional federal rulemaking process.
OOIDA says Congress should take time to understand the true impact this policy would have on highway safety and allow the rulemaking process to continue, rather than imposing a mandate through the appropriations process.
“Congress has never analyzed the effect of mandating lower speeds for heavy vehicles through any public hearing or forum,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “We believe the Senate’s first significant action on the issue should not be in the form of mandating something that decades of research has proven increases the likelihood of crashes between trucks and other vehicles.”
“The agencies making the proposal fully acknowledge the potential for increases in crashes between trucks and other vehicles, and only want to attempt to mitigate the severity of such crashes.”
“Such a mandate would have serious consequences such as promoting road rage among other motorists and creating ‘rolling roadblocks’ of trucks on highways,” said Spencer. “Many states that used to have lower, separate speed limits for trucks have realized this was not the best idea and changed their policies to the same speed limit for all vehicles.”
OOIDA wants the motoring public to know that this is a nationwide policy that would affect all who use the roads where large trucks travel. The association is opposing it and encourages the motoring public to join in opposition.
“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said Spencer. “This wisdom is backed by science. NHTSA’s messages have promoted the practice for years based upon their own research, going back decades.”
OOIDA is a national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers with more than 158,000 members nationwide.