FMCSA extends comment period for proposed national speed limit 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is extending the deadline to comment on the federal agency’s speed limiter rulemaking to July 18.

The FMCSA added a 45-day extension following requests from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). 

Comments on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking now must be received on or before July 18. FMCSA had previously set the date for June 3. 

To submit your comment online, go here, click “Comment,” and type your comment into the text box on the following screen.

The speed limit saga began back in 2006 when ATA petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and FMCSA to require speed limiters on all large trucks be set to electronically limit top speed to no more than 65 mph. 

The FMCSA wants to install speed limiters on CMVs operating across the country. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

‘David versus Goliath’

Some have described the proposal initiated by ATA as a “David versus Goliath” play. Many large fleet operators limit their speeds below the speed limit. This gives small fleet operators a decided time advantage. 

“Larger concerns that often have more political clout frequently attempt to shape regulations in a manner that gives their size an advantage, or at least ‘level the playing field,’” said Ken Presley, United Motorcoach Association (UMA) vice president of legislative, regulatory, and industry affairs/COO. “It’s a common theme in Washington, D.C., certainly one the UMA is especially sensitive to.” 

To date, more than 12,000 comments have been posted. 

FMCSA’s most recent notice of intent (NOI) was published on April 27. If made into a final rule, the maximum speed of commercial vehicles — in excess of the 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight, whichever is higher — involved in interstate commerce will be governed via their electronic engine control units (ECUs). The rule would cover Classes 7-8 commercial vehicles.

While the FMCSA hasn’t identified the maximum speed, users will have “to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle,” according to the agency’s NOI.

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