The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made big news in early May 2022 when it published a notice on its intention to limit the speed of heavy trucks and buses. The move caught some off guard, considering its last official overture on the topic came in September 2016 when President Obama’s FMCSA published a proposed rule. FMCSA was mum on the issue during the Trump Administration despite it remaining on the agency’s official agenda. Now, FMCSA has offered an advanced notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking, extending the already torturous process. So, what does it all mean?
The biggest takeaway is that FMCSA is not rushing into this. For perspective, it was way back in 2006 when the American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America separately petitioned the agency to limit speeds of large trucks to 68 miles per hour. It took the agency 10 years publish a proposal and now, almost seven years later, instead of finalizing the previous proposal, they’ve published a notice promising another proposal, sometime in the future, and asking for stakeholder input on what the top speed should be and to which vehicles it should be applied. Nearly 12,000 comments have already been received.
So, if you’re wondering when you’ll have to set the speed limiters on your trucks, it could be a long wait. After FMCSA analyzes all those comments, they’ll need to publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, ask for comments, and take those into account when crafting a final rule. In the meantime, we’ll have another presidential election which, depending on the result, could rejigger the agency’s priorities once again. In short, this speed limiter proposal is stuck in the slow lane, and if FMCSA again fails to make a convincing case, they’ll continue climbing a steep hill in the wrong gear.