Equip - Fall 2016 - 12

EXPERT Opinion

How Will the DOT's Speed
Limiters Rule Affect You?
Many bus operators have already installed these systems
By Melanie Hinton



ABA is soliciting input from its members
to prepare comments for submission. ABA
urges its members to prepare their own
individual comments as well. They are
due Nov. 7, and there is a 15-page comment
limit. There is no limit to the number of
attachments that can be included with
comments. ●
Melanie Hinton is ABA's director of communi-
cations and media relations.

DOT Predicts That
Every Year ...
... speed limiters are set at 60 mph ...

* As many as 498 lives will be saved
* As many as 551 serious injuries and

10,306 minor injuries will be prevented

* $1.53 billion in savings from faster

* $848 million in annual fuel savings/
greenhouse gas reduction

* $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion in total

... speed limiters are set at 65 mph ...

* As many as 214 lives will be saved
* As many as 236 serious injuries and

4,535 minor injuries will be prevented

* $848 million in fuel savings/green*

house gas reduction
$2.044 billion in lower costs from
faster deliveries
$1.6 billion to $3.3 billion in benefits

... speed limiters are set at 68 mph ...

* As many as 96 lives will be saved
* As many as 106 serious injuries and

1,987 minor injuries will be prevented

* $1.22 billion in annual fuel savings/

greenhouse gas reduction
$2.25 billion in savings from faster
$684 million to $1.5 billion in benefits



he National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration and the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration recently
published a proposal that would require
heavy-duty vehicles to be equipped with
devices that would limit their speeds on U.S.
highways. These Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies contend that capping
speeds of large vehicles will reduce the
annual number of fatal crashes (currently
estimated at 1,115) and save $1 billion a year
in fuel costs.
The proposed new safety standards
would require all new U.S. trucks, buses, and
multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross
vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000
pounds to come equipped with speed limiters.
At present, the proposal designates no maximum speed. Instead, it discusses the potential
benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60,
65, or 68 mph. The proposal says it will consider other speeds based on public input. 
It's important to remember that many
bus operators have already installed speed
limiters in their vehicles and are actively using them. The DOT should ask those already
using these devices, "What speed are they set
at? Why did you voluntarily do this? Has it
been effective?"

Furthermore, under the proposal, manufacturers and motor carriers operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce would
be required to maintain the speed-limiting
devices for the vehicle's life to ensure that they
always operate at or below the designated maximum speed. Yes, you read that right-under
the proposal, both manufacturers and operators are liable for the device's maintenance.
The engine control module will be the
method used to limit speed. Compliance would
be monitored through on-board diagnostics, but
the agencies will consider alternative technologies, such as GPS, that achieve the same result.
There is no anti-tampering requirement
in the proposal. Instead, the rulemaking could
result in display requirements for the date (or
another indicator, such as mileage or engine
life), the maximum speed setting, and the two
most recent modifications to the device. (The
limiter's speed will be set when the vehicle is
The proposal also calls for discussion and
consideration of the feasibility of retrofitting other vehicles back to a certain date,
based on technical advice from the industry.
Although there is no retrofit requirement
as part of the initial proposal, the agencies
are considering adding that, unless they are
convinced otherwise.
In the event of noncompliance, drivers
and carriers would be subject to federal civil
penalties, if it's found that they have operated
vehicles in interstate commerce when the
speed limiter is not functioning or is set at a
maximum speed above the limit that's been
predetermined. For drivers, the maximum fine
would be $2,750. For employers that allow or
require drivers to operate vehicles with limiters set at speeds greater than the maximum
set speed, the top fine would be $11,000.
A 2006 petition by the America Trucking
Association (ATA) and Road Safe America
prompted this joint rulemaking; however, the
trucking industry is not united on this issue.
ATA and the Owner-Operator Independent
Driver Association have asked that the comment period be extended for 30 days.


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