U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that federal safety regulators will push for a new rule that would require all tractor-trailers, buses, and even passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed-limiting devices.
The proposed measure, which would lead to heavy-duty vehicles being physically disabled from exceeding a pre-set speed limit, also comes as a rare occasion in which federal regulators and safety advocates find themselves in agreement.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) jointly propose the rule, saying that in addition to its life-saving value, capped speeds will also lead to lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
Secretary Foxx called the proposed rule “a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment.”
If passed, the rule would require all heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be manufacturer-equipped with speed limiting devices. The Department of Transportation’s proposal discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but the two DOT agencies will consider other speeds based on public input.
“This is basic physics,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”
Motor carriers operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce would be responsible for maintaining the speed limiting devices at or below the designated speed for the life of the vehicle under the proposal.
“We know the cliché ‘speed kills’ is true when it comes to driving,” Sean McNally, American Trucking Association spokesman told Trucks.com. “Speed is a factor in a third of all vehicle crashes and 23 percent of all truck crashes, so slowing our vehicles down can have tremendous safety benefits.”