FMCSA’s Speed Limiter Proposal: What Truck Drivers Need to Know

The FMCSA’s latest proposal to limit heavy trucks to a maximum speed of 68 mph on highways has stirred quite a bit of debate in the trucking community. Let’s break down what this means for you and why it’s being considered.

First off, let’s talk about the why. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) argues that setting a speed cap of 68 mph could significantly enhance road safety. They estimate it could save 27 to 96 lives annually, prevent 30 to 106 serious injuries, and reduce minor injuries by up to 1,987​ (CNS Protects)​. That’s a lot of potential harm avoided, which is no small matter when you’re out on the open road day in and day out.

Moreover, FMCSA suggests that this speed cap could lead to substantial fuel savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. They project benefits of around $376 million annually. This sounds great on paper, but as many of you know, the reality can be a bit more complicated. Slower trucks could mean more traffic congestion and frustration for both truck drivers and other motorists trying to navigate around slower-moving vehicles.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: the backlash. Many in the trucking industry feel this regulation is overreaching. The technology for speed limiters has been around since 2003, thanks to electronic engine control units in commercial motor vehicles. But just because we can limit speeds doesn’t mean everyone agrees we should. The concerns range from potential operational inefficiencies to the actual safety implications of having trucks moving significantly slower than the flow of traffic​ (CNS Protects)​.

For you, the driver, this proposed rule could mean adjustments to your daily routine. If the rule passes, you’ll need to be mindful of new speed limits and how they might affect your routes and delivery schedules. It’s a big change, but staying informed and prepared can help ease the transition.

The proposal is still under review, with a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expected in May 2024. This means there’s still time for voices to be heard and adjustments to be made based on industry feedback.

In the meantime, keep an eye on developments and continue to prioritize safety on the road. After all, whether you’re for or against the speed limiter proposal, the ultimate goal is to keep everyone—drivers and the public—safe and sound.

Stay tuned for more updates and keep trucking!

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