A speed limiting device in commercial vehicles such as trucks? Say what? Yes, unfortunately that’s a thing and it may become a sad reality come Summer 2023. A controversial rule to mandate speed-limiting devices on commercial vehicles has been designated for implementation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
According to a new report from the Department of Transportation, the FMCSA plans to issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on “Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters” on June 30, 2023. The FMCSA has stated that it intends to move through with the speed limitation mandate. They are also evaluating whether or not any more regulatory measures are warranted in regard to the obligations placed on CMV manufacturers.
In Layman’s Terms, the FMCSA will be requiring all CMVs (i.e. commercial vehicles aka trucks/semis) to maintain a certain speed while commuting. This by no means can be a smart idea. Why? If all commercial vehicles are to maintain an identical speed, especially on highways then it simply increases the probability of an accident. Logically it’s quite simple. If two trucks are parallel with each other they will block the highways and increase the likelihood of a potential accident.
The Speed Limiter Mandate: All Truckers Opposing
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a Notice of Intent document earlier this year. The document outlines specific plans proposing all commercial vehicles exceeding gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more be equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU). Such ECU would be capable of governing speed to a limit that will be determined during rulemaking.
In response to this notice, the FMCSA opened a comment period for the speed-limiting regulation. It resulted in more than 15,600 submissions by opposing truckers. Some of the oppositions and comments include the following commentary:
“This is a terrible idea. Have you ever spent a week in a commercial vehicle? You’ll find out quickly the reality of things. Why? Theoretically it sounds like a great idea but in practicality it’s absolutely terrible. It’s hard to realistically imagine two commercial vehicles traveling at the same speed, at the same time, at the same place. Not realistic at all. Furthemore, the potential risks it will create for other commuters. That is even more chilling. If this plan is put into effect, many of us truckers may be forced to quit the business.”
Truck drivers made up the bulk of those who commented against installing speed limiters. Citing concerns that doing so would increase the likelihood of road rage and car accidents. Some have argued that the federal government shouldn’t be intervening with the trucking industry because the industry is already over-regulated. Increased enforcement against drivers of passenger vehicles was another suggestion for boosting highway safety.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and similar groups are against speed limiters because “research has proved that a higher variance of vehicle speeds in traffic flow increases the probability of an accident.”
Potential Reality of Speed Limited Mandate
If indeed this mandate is put into place, here are some repercussions that truckers, trucking companies, company drivers, owner operators, and customers can expect.
- Highways will become significantly more congested.
- Accidents due to commercial vehicles will skyrocket.
- Freight delivery will be delayed. As a result, you may not get your toilet paper and other essentials in a timely manner.
- The cost of freight will most likely go up due to longer periods of time for delivery. As a result, the cost of goods and essentials will also have to go up to supplement profit margins.
There are bound to be other repercussions that will yield from this mandate. On a grand scale though, it’s simply illogical. On the upside of things, the DOT and FMCSA have only filed a Notice of Intent. It is not official yet and there is hope that due to the high amount of opposition this potential mandate has seen thus far that it may not become a sad reality.
The potential speed limiter mandate aimed to further regulate the trucking industry seems to be extremely cruel. It will ultimately affect everyone from trucking companies to consumers. Safety should indeed be a top priority. It is something that we wholeheartedly believe in here at Sugar Creek Transportation. However, seeking extreme measures for heightened safety can indeed cripple the trucking industry in many ways. For instance, as it stands in 2022 there are over 80,000 open trucking jobs.
The demand for qualified truck drivers is extremely high. Although with potential speed limiter mandates and other regulatory requirements it’s making it harder for trucking companies and truck drivers to have any kind of enticement. No truck drivers, no truckers, no goods. A 2023 holiday season can turn ugly very quickly as a result of this mandate outcome.
Seasoned truck drivers are indeed in high demand. Drivers and company owners that are capable of also withstanding unexpected storms that come along with this industry. It is definitely a challenging industry to be in but also extremely rewarding in many ways.
Are you a truck driver looking for a company that will not treat you like a number? Do you want to be a part of a family instead of a company that treats you like a notch on the belt? Do you have at least two years of driving experience? We are always looking for self-motivated, driven, and energetic people to join our family.