Will speed limiters soon be a requirement on semi-trucks?

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Both legal compliance and fleet maintenance are crucial for the financial success of a commercial transportation company. There are many federal laws that apply to commercial transportation companies, and the owners and executives operating these businesses must do their best to adhere to those regulations.

Of course, federal requirements for semi-trucks and their drivers frequently change. Based on an announcement made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2022, the summer of 2023 may herald a major safety-related shift for semi-trucks.

Speed limiting devices could soon be mandatory

There are devices that can potentially limit the speed at which a commercial truck travels. By requiring installation of these devices, it would therefore be possible for regulators to impose a firm maximum limit on the speed semi-trucks maintain in traffic.

On the surface, such suggestions may seem like a common-sense approach to helping improve public safety. After all, excess speed is dangerous for any vehicle, especially those that are large and take longer to stop. However, mandating speed limiting devices would potentially create more financial strain for transportation companies, as they will have to pay for and then maintain these systems in their commercial vehicles.

Beyond that, there is also the safety implication of taking away a form of driver control. There are scenarios in which drivers might need to suddenly speed up in order to avoid a crash as opposed to slowing down or swerving. If they are already close to or at the maximum limit imposed on their vehicle by federal rule, the device in the truck might prevent the driver from taking an action that would save lives.

Opposition may prevent the near-future implementation of this rule

After the announcement of the proposed new rule for commercial trucks, the FMCSA and DOT announced a lengthy period for public input, and thousands of commercial drivers and transportation companies have weighed in on the topic. There is little question when reviewing opinion in the industry that the opposition to this new requirement is quite strong.

Therefore, there are still questions as to whether or not there will be a new rule announced this summer after all. Tracking proposed and pending changes to FMCSA policy will help commercial transportation companies remain compliant and possibly help them influence policy as it changes.