Speed Limiter Battle Heating Up in U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A battle that has pitted fleets, truck drivers, associations and governments against one another over the issue of speed limiters on trucks in Canada is heating up south of the border in anticipation of new regulations.

The National Motorists Association (NMA) and Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) on Tuesday issued a joint statement questioning claims made by the fleet-backed group the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and it urging U.S. regulators that all trucks need speed limiters programmed to 65 mph.

All this comes as its believed the U.S. government publish draft rules on requiring activated speed limiters for trucks in late July.

NMA, based in Wisconsin, describes itself as a “North American grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to the protection of motorists’ rights and freedoms.”

OOIDA is the U.S.-based trade association representing independent owner-operators and professional drivers on issues affecting truckers with the group claiming to have more than 150,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.

ATA has been lobbying for speed limiters on trucks for several years, with its most recent call coming about a week ago.

The group has also called upon the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) to not only cap the speed of large trucks, but to also reduce speed limits for all traffic.

“The ATA is searching for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said NMA President Gary Biller. “They want to turn back the clock from today’s speed limits at a time when U.S. highways are statistically safer than at any time in the past. Much safer, in fact, than when the federal government regulated the maximum speed of all vehicles to 55 mph between 1974 and 1995. It makes you wonder why.”

ATA’S most recent urging was soon after followed by a rebuke from OOIDA, telling U.S. regulators “there is a lack of solid science to back up a mandate that would require speed limiting devices on large trucks and that doing so would make highways less safe.”

The two also claim FMCSA statistics support OOIDA’s statement that trucks keeping pace with surrounding traffic are at less risk of crash. 

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