FMCSA revises notice regarding 68 MPH speed limit

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revised its speed limiter entry in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s September 2023 Significant Rulemaking Report to eliminate a top speed in the summary.

The revision on Sept. 25 came after the FMCSA had said it intended to propose requiring speed limiters on all commercial motor vehicles and that the speed limit would be set no higher than 68 mph. Now, the agency says an exact speed limit will be determined later.

FMCSA tells Bus & Motorcoach News that the notice has been revised and that 68 MPH is just one of the speeds that is being considered as a “maximum speed limit for heavy vehicles.” 

The original notice of public rulemaking suggested 60, 65, and 68 MPH were under consideration. Safety advocates say 60 mph is an appropriate national speed limit for vehicles over 26,000 pounds.

UMA wants more data 

Ken Presley, Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO for the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), says the agency will need to make a strong case that a uniform speed limit would be safer.

“UMA will continue to insist on actuarial data to support establishing a compulsory speed limit utilizing speed limiting devices,” Presley said. “We have encouraged comprehensive studies with definitive conclusions before pursuing further rulemaking in this area.”

While UMA has not opposed speed limiters, since most motorcoaches already have them, the organization has questioned the wisdom of a uniform speed limit for all CMVs because this can create an unsafe situation on roads. 

Presley noted that many states have established lower speed limits for CMVs only to reverse the laws. 

“Frankly, FMCSA is likely going to see a state’s rights legal challenge,” Presley said. 

The rule was scheduled to be out earlier this year, but was pushed back. Currently the rule is scheduled to be released Dec. 29.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have pending bills that, if passed, would prohibit FMCSA from moving forward with the rulemaking.

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