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Strong response from FMCSA on safety limiters: “We continue to fight”

“When decisions are made in Washington that affect our members, ATA will always be in that room with a seat at the table,” they begin.

A bill was recently introduced in the Senate that seeks to do away with the speed limiters proposed by the Department of Transportation. It was late 2022 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the speed limiter discussion for trucks and other large commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

Republican Congressman Josh Brecheen (Representing Oklahoma) introduced the Deregulation of Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheeler Vehicles (DRIVE) Act. This rule, as reported by the CCJ portal: “would prohibit the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from issuing a rule or regulation that requires certain vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices, and for other purposes.”

The FMCSA did not take long to respond and did so with a harsh statement published on its website.

His words:

“When decisions are made in Washington that affect our members, ATA will always be in that room with a seat at the table. Others stand outside, banging their fists on the door and yelling for attention like they always do, with no result to show for it.
ATA engages any legislator who knows our history and appreciates what our industry does for every American across the economy and across our country. When regulators introduce new regulations, we make sure that data should drive the process, not press releases disguised as real-world policy.

We do not point fingers or blame. We drive real results. That’s why we win.

Regarding speed limiters, the official ATA policy allows for 70 MPH on trucks equipped with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. On trucks without these safety technologies, our policy allows for a maximum posted speed of 65 MPH.

To be clear: A USDOT rule on speed limiters is coming up. ATA will be back at the table, driving an outcome with policy based on data, not baseless rhetoric.

We continue to fight efforts by anti-truck groups to enforce a speed limit rule that sets speeds in the 60s. Anti-truck advocates lobbied to include that in the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and ATA successfully fought to keep those provisions out of the final bill.

As a member-driven organization, ATA policy is set by our member companies. Our speed limit policy was last reviewed and voted on in 2019 by the Safety Policy Committee, made up of 120 small, medium and large carriers. We are a committed and dynamic association, and our policy committees meet in person twice a year to set direction.

ATA policies are not static, nor should they be. When new data emerges, new technologies appear online, or new safety concerns arise, such as increased speed limits for passenger vehicles, we evaluate and modify as necessary. As the world changes, we adapt to the environment in which we operate. That is called common sense.

When legislative text or regulations do not align with our policies, we work through the process to achieve alignment. If those bills or rules ultimately don’t align, we will oppose and work to defeat them, just as we did with the 2016 speed limit rule and the Obama administration’s flawed hours-of-service reset rule. We’ll do it again if USDOT’s newly anticipated speed limit rule doesn’t meet our policy.

That is precisely why we have policies. “No” is not a policy; It’s an excuse to do nothing. Challenging safety, “no” amounts to saying drivers should go as fast as they want for as long as they want while operating 80,000-pound vehicles.

Blaming the ATA for a USDOT regulation that hasn’t come out yet is hopeless indeed, but what can you do? Not everyone is equipped or capable of navigating the federal process today. In an attempt to stay relevant, many are falling into despair. But that is not a winning strategy.

After all, we don’t lose sleep over the impotence of others. We are too busy delivering results for our members”.

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