First they berated the FMCSA for dragging their feet on a speed limiter ruling. Then after the rule was published, they said they were “pleased.” After taking some time to consider, they had their doubts. Now the American Trucking Association has completed their 180o turn by announcing that they believe the speed limiter rule is “dangerous.”
To be clear, the ATA still supports the idea of a speed limiter rule, just not this specific one. In their press release, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear stated that “ATA is preserving our pro-safety policy on speed limiters.”
In the statement, Spear outlined many of the same concerns that other critics of the rule have had, namely that “it provides insufficient data,” that it has not one but three different proposed speeds to limit trucks at, and that it doesn’t address the safety problem that would arise out of having other vehicles travelling at much higher speeds than trucks.
Of all the complaints raised against the speed limiter rule, the fact that in some areas cars would be legally driving 20+mph faster than trucks may be the most worrisome. Spear even says the following in his press release:
“Most disconcerting is the fact that DOT’s new rulemaking does not address the differentials in speed that would exist between any of the three proposed national speed limits for trucks and the speed laws of multiple states – allowing passenger vehicles to travel at much higher speeds than commercial trucks. This lack of data and direction only elevates the safety risks to the motoring public.”
The topic was even addressed by Spears again at the ATA’s annual convention where he criticized the rule during a press conference.
“We also find it rather curious that the administration wasted nearly eight years to put forth this proposal,” said Spears.
The ATA does still support the idea of a mandatory speed limiter rule, but it is unclear how any rule that does not also limit the speed of cars could avoid the split-speed safety issue.