Federal Regulations to Limit Truck Speeds Stall

Federal Regulations to Limit Truck Speeds Stall

In 2016, two agencies of the federal government proposed regulations that would put speed governors, which prevent vehicles from exceeding specified speed limits, on heavy trucks. However, since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed those rules under the Obama administration, Donald Trump was elected president. The Trump administration has put the proposed speed governor rules on hold.

An industry publication reported that the rule would have required speed-governing devices on all new trucks. The Department of Transportation never settled on a particular speed limit but said that it would consider maximum speeds of 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour.

When two federal agencies with slightly different jurisdictions—in this case, the NHTSA and the FMSCA—propose regulations governing the same subject, the results can apply more broadly than a rule issued only by one agency. The NHTSA’s proposal would have required speed governors for all multipurpose commercial vehicles. This includes vans, minivans, trucks, buses, and school buses.

The Trump Administration Put Speed-Governor Rules on the Back Burner

The Trump administration came into office last November with an announced intention to cut regulations. That seems to have delayed the proposed rules to limit tractor-trailer speeds. A unified agenda published July 20, 2017, by the Office of Management and Budget did not mention the speed-limitation rules on the near-term agenda for either the NHTSA or the FMCSA.

It is not clear whether the regulations will move forward. The rules appear inconsistent with administration policy, however, as the Trump administration has prioritized reducing regulations, including a requirement to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation enacted with a significant financial impact.

While federal regulations must undergo a cost-benefit analysis before enactment, the Trump administration has focused on the costs regulations impose upon the industry. It has paid less attention to benefits of the regulations, which are harder to estimate. For instance, lives saved are valued at more than $9 million each, but with little supporting analysis showing how the total lives saved is reached or how the value per life saved is calculated. The DOT has previously contended that the regulations could save nearly 500 lives per year and save somewhere between $475 million and $5 billion in costs to society, depending upon the maximum speed chosen. The methodology behind the calculations was not made public.

It seems likely that limiting the speed of 18-wheelers would save lives. A relationship exists between the speed at which an accident takes place and the lethality of that accident. Furthermore, most truck tires are not designed for speeds of more than 75 miles per hour, even though some states have 80-mile-per-hour speed limits.

Call Emroch & Kilduff Today to Speak to a Richmond Truck Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in the Richmond area in an accident involving a speeding commercial truck, consult an attorney to explore your options. The lawyers of Emroch & Kilduff specialize in personal injury law and can assist you in protecting your rights and obtaining just compensation in these types of situations. You can reach us at (804) 358-1568 or through our online contact form.

William B. Kilduff


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