- The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) motor carrier and traffic safety divisions agreed Tuesday to extend the public comment period regarding the agencies' notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate speed governors on new commercial vehicles heavier than 26,000 pounds.
- The American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the EMA Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association had requested additional time to submit comments given their memberships' time constraints.
- The new deadline for submitting comments is December 7. The rule would cap truck speeds at either 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour but would save numerous lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs annually, American Shipper reports.
The federal government's acquiescence to the industry associations' requests reveals the associations' power within the rulemaking process, and the government's desire to correct issues at the earliest stages of the process.
The Department of Transportation has already received more than 3,000 largely negative comments on its NPRM, but providing th e ATA, EMA and OOIDA with more time will ensure the DOT is at minimum aware of the legal challenges that could arise later.
Most recently, the DOT's final rule on electronic logging devices was upheld in an appeals court, putting a near end to a decade-long battle against the associations to mandate implementation of the technology. The DOT issued three final rules on the matter since 2003, but two were defeated in court over issues that had surfaced during the NPRM and proposed rule comment periods.
The speed limiter rule is slightly different, though, since the DOT cites ATA's long support for such a rule as an impetus for the NPRM. However, the ATA has since opposed the rule claiming the product strays significantly from its recommendations. Meanwhile, besides concerns of overregulation, many drivers claim the proposed speed limits are simply too low.