A notice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the agency’s intent to proceed with rulemaking to require speed limiters on most heavy-duty trucks was published in the Federal Register today, Wednesday, May 4. The advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking is open for public comment for 30 days.
The notice does not specify any speed to which trucks will be limited under the regulation and is not a proposal of any regulatory language to amend the FMCSA regulations. Instead, it is a fact-finding and data-mining tool for FMCSA to determine how to best proceed with the rule.
The speed limiter debate has been on hold since early in the Trump administration. A joint rulemaking issued in 2016 by FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explored potentially limiting trucks to either 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.
The new notice is being published only by the FMCSA, and the requirements of the rule will fall to motor carriers to implement the speed limiters rather than the OEMs.
In the notice, FMCSA said it is considering making the rule only applicable to trucks manufactured after a certain date — potentially 2003 — “because this is the population of vehicles for which [electronic engine control units] were routinely installed and may potentially be used to govern the speed of the vehicles.”
The agency added that moving forward with a motor carrier-based speed limiter rule “will ensure compliance with the rule, and potentially avoid confusion on who is responsible” for implementing the speed limiters and ensuring they remain active.
In its posting, the FMCSA is asking for public comment on 12 questions, dealing with the programming or adjustment of engine control units that could be made to impose speed limits on heavy-duty trucks. The questions include:
- What percentage of the CMV fleet currently uses speed limiting devices?
- If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?
- What skill sets or training are needed for motor carriers’ maintenance personnel to adjust or program ECUs to set speed limits?
- What tools or equipment are needed to adjust or program ECUs?
- How long would adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU take?
- Where can the adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU be completed?
- Can the adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU be made on-site where the vehicle is ordinarily housed or garaged, or would it have to be completed at a dealership?
- Do responses to questions 3 through 6 change based on the model year of the power unit?
- Since publication of the NPRM (in 2016), how has standard practice or technology changed as it relates to the ability to set speed limits using ECUs?
- Are there any challenges or burdens associated with FMCSA publishing a rule without NHTSA updating the FMVSS?
- Should FMCSA revisit using the 2003 model year as the baseline requirement for the rule?
- Should FMCSA consider a retrofit requirement in the rule and, if so, should it be based on model year or other criteria, and what would the cost of such a requirement be?
- Should FMCSA include truck Classes 3-6 (i.e., 10,001 – 26,001 lbs. GVWR) in the SNPRM?