Speed-limiter mandate in limbo under Trump agenda

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s push to cut federal regulations has left a proposal to require speed limiters on buses and trucks in limbo.

The revised “unified agenda” published last month by the Office of Management and Budget indicates that a speed-limiter rule is no longer on the near-term agendas of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agencies that jointly proposed the mandate a year ago.

“By amending and eliminating regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete, the administration can promote economic growth and innovation and protect individual liberty,” OMB said when it posted the revised agenda.

The proposed rule attracted more than 5,000 public comments, many of them opposing a speed-limiter mandate.

Under the proposed rule, maximum speeds could be set at 60, 65 or 68 mph. The exact speed has yet to be determined by NHTSA and FMCSA.

Manufacturers would be given three years from publication of a final rule to meet the proposed requirements.

“The purpose of this joint rulemaking is to reduce the severity of crashes involving these heavy vehicles and to reduce the number of resulting fatalities,” NHTSA and FMCSA said in the proposed rulemaking.

Many motorcoach operators already use speed limiters on their fleets, and industry officials said the impact of the requirement on passenger carriers would depend on whether they operate in the western or eastern United States.

On the East Coast, where traffic is more congested, it is often difficult for a bus to exceed 60 or 65 mph. In the West, which is more wide open and where speed limits can exceed 80 mph, motorcoach drivers would be forced to stay well below those limits.

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