WASHINGTON — The federal government’s controversial truck speed limiter rule has been delayed once again and is now set to be published in May.

Originally scheduled to roll out by mid-2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pushed the date back to Dec. 29 of last year.

But according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest significant rulemaking report, the speed limiter rule will not be out for another five months — or possibly longer.

The rule would require that trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds be equipped with an electronic speed governor to set the device at a maximum speed, which is expected to be revealed in the rule.

Owner-operators generally oppose the rule, contending it would stifle driving flexibility and lead to more crashes. Safety groups and large carriers — particularly trucking companies that already set limits on their trucks for economic as well as for safety reasons — support a federal mandate.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill in December, House Republicans pushed back against the proposed regulation and whether the rulemaking process was being conducted ethically.

U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, at the hearing questioned former FMCSA chief Robin Hutcheson about a potential connection between FMCSA rescinding in September a 68 mph limit on electronic speed governors in trucks — which had initially been included in a previous agenda summary — and a fundraiser she attended the same week.

Nehls claimed that the fundraiser was sponsored by labor unions and large trucking companies that he said had been pressuring FMCSA to set speed limiters at 60 mph. Hutcheson asserted, however, that the agency does not discuss pending rules with industry stakeholders.

FMCSA updates autonomous truck, carrier fitness rulemakings

Also delayed by FMCSA is a proposed rule on autonomous trucking. As with the speed limiter rule, the automated driving systems (ADS) rule, which would amend regulations relating to truck operations, inspection, repair and maintenance, was scheduled to be published in December. According to the latest agenda, however, the ADS rule is now scheduled for March.

In addition, FMCSA has set June 2025 as the date for rollout of a proposed rule on carrier safety fitness and revamping how the agency identifies unsafe motor carriers. That date is 20 months after the comment period ended, in October 2023, on an advance notice for the rule.

FMCSA earlier this month published a “notice of data availability” in the proposed rule’s docket to notify the public about studies it could rely on to develop the rule, which will be used to determine a carrier’s safety fitness rating.

Related articles:

Lawmaker vows to block speed limiters on trucks

Trucking, safety groups line up against anti-speed limiter bill

NHTSA rejects call to make AV test reporting mandatory

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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