For all the truck drivers out there worried about having semi speeds put on lockdown, here’s some hope. This is the one truck driving regulation that Trump has made some noise about. As it is still up for approval, the speed limiter rule is heading for the dumps rather than the Federal Register, which is a happy day for many in the trucking industry. But will it see daylight before the end of the Trump administration?
Understanding the Speed Limiter Mandate
If the speed limiter mandate were to be written
in the rule books, it would require all commercial carriers with over the road trucking jobs to limit their drivers’ speed. Regulating devices would be affixed to all rigs in order to govern truck drivers’ driving speeds or lack thereof. The speed limiter devices would have limited all OTR truckers even those for companies like Comtrak, Davis Transfer, and Kenan Advantage Group. The speed limit was not set in stone, but some safety advocates including the American Trucking Associations wanted it set at 65 mph. Some wanted it even lower at 60 mph.
The problem with this mandate, well, there are many. For starters, it puts truckers’ safety at risk when they aren’t able to speed up in areas of congestion. When you have all of these passenger car drivers going 80 mph, which is the speed limit in some states, and there are semis moving like turtles at 60 mph, it also leads to road rage against big rig drivers. After all, no one likes to be blocked by a convoy of truckers moving excessively slower than the rest of the road’s drivers.
It also puts those public drivers at risk for being involved in rear end collisions as they aren’t able to slow down to the slowest speeds of truckers. Like it or not the general public simply doesn’t understand the rules and speed requirements of truckers, which only creates more stress for both parties on public highways.
There is also the issue of truckers trying to get back up to speed when going up hilly highways. The slower they are when starting, the slower they are going up, and it all adds up to slow, slow, slow. This is also a safety risk when truckers are getting ran around by other speedier drivers who aren’t taking the speed limiter rule into account.
The speed limiter mandate would also require all drivers and trucking company owners to purchase speed limiter equipment for trucks. These can cost anywhere from $125 to $300 plus regular updates. However, the real cost comes from the increased amount of time it takes for truck drivers to get goods delivered. This is an economic disaster, especially in a time when freight demand is at a 10 year high.
Trump Dumps the Speed Limiter Regulation
So it goes that Trump is set to block this regulation from happening. Already Trump has sent out a memo, on January 20, that delayed the rule of the speed limiters from moving forward. Along with this freeze on approving new regulations, Trump is promising to get rid of two old regulations for every new regulation being approved. In other words, even if the speed limiter mandate is set for approval there is going to be an even longer process than usual for getting it into the regulation books.
A lawsuit was just filed on February 8 against the Trump administration and Transportation Secretary Chao that states reducing regulations is not constitutional. By promising to repeal two regulations for each regulation passed, the administration is pushing legislative limits. As this lawsuit develops it may turn out that Trump’s move to deregulate, deregulate, deregulate might not be so effective after all.
Will this change the way the rules work for the speed limit mandate or is it still on its way? Who knows for sure, given the recent developments. However, there is the promising theory that this mandated regulation will at least take longer than usual to pass. This follows suit with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s delay of the national new truck driver training standard that was meant to go into effect, but has now been delayed as well.