The federal government will consider limiting the speed of all heavy trucks to 68 mph, a proposal some truckers support and others oppose.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it would start a rulemaking on mandating speed limiters for all heavy commercial trucks.
NHTSA will consider whether all trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds should have electronic control modules or ECMs limiting speeds to no more than 68 mph.
A rule limiting truck speeds would combine with new driver work rules and other regulatory initiatives to effectively reduce some truckload capacity.
However, the proposed rulemaking won't begin until 2012, and may not result in a final rule or mandate, NHTSA said in its Jan. 3 Federal Register notice.
(Download the agency's Federal Register notice here.)
It expects to review a study being conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the safety and economic impact of truck speed limiters.
The agency granted a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations and Road Safe America and a group of nine trucking companies to launch a rulemaking.
The ATA and other groups filed petitions for a rulemaking in 2006. The carriers included large truckers such as Schneider National and J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
The ATA argued that lower truck speeds would reduce the severity of crashes and cut fuel consumption, improving highway safety and the environment.
Smaller truckers represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposed a mandate, arguing speed limiters would make roads less safe.
"All credible highway research shows that highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same speed," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA.
Other groups, including the Truckload Carriers Association, said a wider speed gap between heavy tractor-trailers and cars could increase the risk of accidents.
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