OOIDA Rips ATA’s Latest Push For Speed Limiter Mandate as ‘Backdoor Maneuver’ to Benefit Large Carriers
Washington D.C. – The fight over mandating speed limiters has once again erupted among two leading trucking groups.
Late last week, the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) news operation, Transport Topics, reported trucking’s largest association joined with Road Safe America (RSA) in penning a letter about the contentious issue to new U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buittigieg.
The groups urged Sec. Buttigieg and U.S. regulators to require all trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed-limiting devices.
“Speed limiting is a fundamental component of safety management,” Bill Sullivan, ATA executive vice president of advocacy told Transport Topics. “ATA’s policies support speed limiting, and we need to make sure that it’s done in a way that accommodates the changes in equipment and technology.”
In 2006, ATA filed a petition with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calling on the agency to issue a rule on the matter.
However, the ATA eventually opposed a 2016 joint proposal from the FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calling for such a mandate and a universal maximum speed to be regulated at either 60, 65 or 68 mph.
“When the USDOT initially published the 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking, ATA and many motor carriers shared several concerns about the efficacy of a one-size-fits-all solution applied to a sector as complex and nuanced as trucking,” ATA President Chris Spear and Steve Owings, president of Road Safe America, wrote to Sec. Buttigieg. “Foremost among them were the unintended and potentially dangerous consequences of limiting commercial drivers to one universal speed limit despite the varying limits set for passenger vehicles on interstate and secondary roads. Another question was how such a rule would adapt to the rapid evolution taking place in vehicle safety technology.”
Within hours of the report, the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) also sent a letter to Sec. Buttigieg blasting the idea and characterized ATA’s renewed push for a mandate as “nothing more than a backdoor maneuver by large carriers to gain a competitive advantage through extremely costly, burdensome, and unproven mandates.”
“One remaining competitive advantage for small trucking companies over their larger competitors is the lack of a need to speed limit trucks for fleet management purposes,” OOIDA explained. “Instead, small trucking businesses are able to operate at the speeds determined to be safe by state officials, which in many cases is above 65 mph.”
Further, OOIDA contended a speed limiter mandate would have the exact opposite safety impact of what proponents say because it would create “dangerous speed differentials” between big rigs and passenger vehicles.
“Studies have consistently demonstrated that increasing interactions between vehicles directly increases the likelihood of crashes,” OOIDA argued. “Additionally, speed limiters create serious operational challenges and dangers for truckers, including challenges navigating merges and running blockades (known as elephant races) that increase “road rage” among other drivers.”
Click HERE to read OOIDA’s entire letter or click HERE to watch OOIDA’s 5-minute video on the dangers of speed limiters.
TransportationNation.com will have much more on this developing story in the next few days, so make sure you are following us on social media or become a Transportation Nation Network member (it’s free) and receive breaking news alerts.
Photo courtesy OOIDA/video screenshot