The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration floated a 68 mph speed limit for heavy-duty trucks on Monday — before backtracking, saying the measure was still under consideration.
The detail was initially published as part of an annual Department of Transportation report on agency priorities. By Tuesday morning, however, the agency had removed the exact speed limit after trade groups and media organizations spotted the language.
FMCSA spokesperson Kala Wright told Trucking Dive the agency removed a mention of a 68 mph maximum speed limit because it is unofficial and requires further review before being proposed in a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.
"No decision has been made on the maximum speed limit that would be proposed in the upcoming SNPRM," Wright told Trucking Dive.
However, the updated language reveals FMCSA officials still estimate they will release their latest proposal on the long-anticipated rule by Dec. 29, as they had previously pledged to do.
The agency and outside consultants analyzed a mountain of feedback — more than 15,000 responses — received during a public comment period on speed limiters.
The technology is a hotly divisive topic in trucking, with the American Trucking Associations supporting its use and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposing it.
ATA’s membership skews toward large trucking fleets, many of which already deploy speed limiters. OOIDA, which primarily consists of small businesses and owner-operators, views requiring the tech as removing one of their last advantages over larger competitors that use it.
Forcing trucks to drive slower than the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles and leads to more crashes, OOIDA President Todd Spencer said.
“This isn’t safe for truckers, but especially not safe for passenger vehicle drivers sharing the road with trucks,” Spencer said.