Fleet Management

ATA’s Spear Slams Proposed Speed-Limiter Rule

October 04, 2016

By David Cullen

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Chris Spear speaking to the press on ATA's stance on proposed speed-limiter rule. Photo: David Cullen
Chris Spear speaking to the press on ATA's stance on proposed speed-limiter rule. Photo: David Cullen

LAS VEGAS. The president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations bluntly assessed as “dangerous” the key provisions of the proposed federal speed-limiter rule for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

Chris Spear opened his brief remarks at an Oct. 4 press conference held here at the close of ATA’s Management Conference and Exposition by stating that, “My team and myself have our marching orders.”

He said that numerous policy discussions took place at the group’s board of directors meeting that day, but for the moment, he wanted to focus on just one regulatory issue.

“I find it rather curious,” Spear began, “that it’s taken the [Obama] administration nearly eight years to bring forth this proposal.” The proposed rule was jointly issued by the National Highway Safety Administration and the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 26-- after a decade-long push by trucking and safety advocates for just such a requirement.

Spear slammed the rule for its lack of specificity and the dearth of research backing it up. “The various differentials in speed from what this rule proposes and what state speed limits are is dangerous,” he stated. “What is this proposal? Three speed limits, not one. No studies to back it up. And no national cap on limits to address speed differentials.

“Our policy focus now is to develop comments on this proposal, which in my humble opinion, is flawed,” he continued. “We cannot afford to elevate risks for the motoring public with a rule that does not take into account the danger of differential speeds for cars and trucks."

Spear said the regulatory agencies have “the responsibility to study [what they’ve proposed] and come to a consensus about [setting] one speed and one national limit— not three speeds and no national limit [as is laid out in the proposal].”

He pointed out that he’s not opposed to regulating lower highway speeds for tractor trailers, which is a policy stance held for years by ATA. “We will work with our members to shape our comments” on the rulemaking,” Spear added.

ATA also announced at the press briefing that its board of directors elected Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc., Dayton, Ohio, as the association’s 72nd chairman. 

Burch told reporters he will put a special focus on telling those outside trucking how dedicated the industry is to safety. “This industry is filled with wonderful, dedicated professionals – from drivers and dispatchers to salesmen and executives. So I’m going to be telling that story all the time.”

“Kevin has been one of our association’s most vocal and passionate advocates,” Spear remarked. “His enthusiasm for trucking and for improving its image is infectious and will serve him and ATA well as chairman.”

Burch replaces Pat Thomas, senior vice president for state government affairs at UPS Inc. “Serving as ATA chairman has been a singular honor for me and my family,” Thomas said. “I wish Kevin all the best and believe he will be an outstanding representative of our industry.”

Related: DOT Finally Proposes Truck Speed-Limiter Rule


  1. 1. Scott Coyle [ October 05, 2016 @ 07:43AM ]

    At the present moment there are trucks that are governed to run 75mph all the way down to 60 mph. That's plenty of difference that we can keep our spacing most of the time.
    If the box is reduced down to 5 mph for all trucks to run in there will be log jams all over the place. Trucks will be separated by tenths of a mph and how much they weigh, how big the grade of the hill, how much tire wear each truck has. and how much wind is blowing will guarantee trucks playing leap frog all day long. And forget about passing on two lanes.

  2. 2. Rich [ October 05, 2016 @ 08:08AM ]

    How about the ATA proclaiming a national truck driver mandatory 2 week vacation shutdown and watch the fun when all the whiners run out of food, med supplies, booze and all necessities.
    Now that would be entertainment!!!

  3. 3. Tracy West [ November 02, 2016 @ 09:19AM ]

    I'm concerned with trucks only doing 68 in some 75 mph zones; cars traveling 75 to 80 will be moving in and out of lanes and causing many more accidents. I've been over fleets for 30 years and the automobile and pick-up drivers have caused the vast majority of accidents that my trucks have been involved with.


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