WASHINGTON — An Oklahoma lawmaker is taking a preemptive shot at a truck speed limiter proposed rule scheduled to be published this year, introducing a bill aimed at stopping it.

The Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday by Republican Josh Brecheen, would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from “implementing any rule or regulation requiring vehicles over 26,000 pounds that are engaged in interstate commerce to be equipped with a speed limiting device set to a maximum speed,” according to a statement from Brecheen. A draft of the bill was not yet available.

FMCSA stated in a notice of intent issued last year that the agency would be proposing that interstate commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 26,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater, be equipped with an electronic engine control unit capable of governing a yet-to-be-determined maximum speed. The notice generated over 15,000 comments, mostly from drivers or small carriers staunchly opposed to it.

Brecheen, a fourth-generation rancher and former trucking company owner, argues the rule would harm the agricultural sector as well as the trucking industry generally because it would include livestock trailer/truck combos and grain trucks.

“This overreach by the Biden Administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries,” Brecheen asserted.

“I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment, and years spent hauling livestock, that the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C. This rule will add one more needless burden and Congress must stop it.

“For example, if a rancher is transporting cattle in a trailer across state lines, under this rule, the federal government would require a speed limiter device when above 26,000 lbs. Out-of-control bureaucrats are trying to impose ridiculous regulations on Americans who are trying to make ends meet.”

Brecheen cited a 2005 study that found that interactions among vehicles traveling 10 mph below the posted speed limit were 227% higher than among vehicles moving at traffic speed. Such interactions lead to more crashes, said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which supports Brecheen’s bill.

“OOIDA and our 150,000 members in small business trucking across America thank Congressman Brecheen for his leadership in keeping our roadways safe for truckers and for all road users,” Spencer commented.

The bill also has the support of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, Western States Trucking Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United States Cattlemen’s Association, Livestock Marketing Association, and the Towing and Recovery Association of America.

The American Trucking Associations, which developed a speed-governing policy for commercial trucks in 2007, initially supported a fixed maximum speed of 65 mph for all Class 7 and 8 trucks with electronic speed governors manufactured after 1992. ATA has since revised its policy to take into account the latest safety technology, and for those types of trucks it now supports speed limiters set to a maximum of 70 mph.

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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