Safety & Compliance

ATA Urges Fast Action on Speed-Limiter Rule

April 20, 2015

By David Cullen

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The American Trucking Associations is again urging the Department of Transportation to “move forward” with a rulemaking requiring installation of electronic speed-limiting devices on Class 7 and 8 trucks that operate on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or above.

Last week, DOT revealed that it has delayed publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the joint FMCSA/NHTSA rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters” (RIN 2126-AB63.)

The NPRM was originally slated to be released on March 24, 2014, but its “new projected date” of publication is July 27th.   

While the rulemaking itself was initiated in May of 2013, ATA pointed out in a statement released Monday that nearly nine years have passed since the trucking lobby first petitioned DOT to mandate speed limiters.

“In 2006, as part of our longstanding commitment to highway safety, ATA petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require the speed limiter on all large trucks be set in order to electronically limit their top speed to no more than 65 mph,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves.

“We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 [that] they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate, but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now,” he continued. “It is long past time for NHTSA and FMCSA to move ahead with this rule.”

Graves argued that “even though roughly 70% of trucking companies use electronic limiters, that is not enough. So we are again calling on NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, who recently touted the benefits of speed limiters in the press, FMCSA General Counsel Scott Darling and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to move this important regulation forward.

"Further," he added, "I urge them to use their positions to push states to do the right thing – the safe thing – when it comes to speed limits for all vehicles and stem the dangerous tide of higher ones.”

There is no legal deadline attached to this rulemaking, as it was initiated by an administrative decision. Indeed, when the action was launched, DOT stated that the joint rulemakingwould respond to petitions from ATA and Roadsafe America to require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks.”

In response to those petitions, NHTSA requested public comment and has reported receiving “thousands of comments supporting the petitioner´s request” so far. The current projected date for closing the comment period is September 28, or two months after the NRPM is now expected to be issued.

“This rulemaking would consider a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that would require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks,” DOT has stated. “We believe this rule would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set.”

As ATA sees it, slowing trucks down will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. The association pointed out that “Federal data show that driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit was the primary reason for 18% of all fatal crashes where a large truck was deemed at fault.” 

ATA also stated that, on a national basis, speed is a cause or factor in nearly 30% of all fatal crashes. That’s why the trucking lobby wants to do more than electronically limit the speed of heavy trucks.

“In addition to slowing truck speeds, ATA believes in slowing down all traffic,” Graves said. “That’s why we back a national speed limit for all vehicles of 65 mph and are disturbed by the recent trend of states raising their speed limits to 70, 75, 80, or in some areas even 85 miles per hour. These limits are reckless and are needlessly endangering millions of motorists.” 

“We limit the speeds of our trucks to 65 mph,” noted ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C., “because it makes good safety sense, and as a bonus, it makes good economic sense. Our safety record is better because we limit speeds, we use less fuel because we limit speeds and we spend less on repairs and maintenance of our trucks because we limit our speeds.”

As part of its campaign, ATA is asking those participating in the discussion about speed limiters and speed limits on social media to use this hashtag: #SlowDownSaveLives.


  1. 1. JL [ April 21, 2015 @ 03:29AM ]

    The ATA is the one pushing for speed limiters?! This is so crazy. I thought they were supposed to be helping truck drivers, not making things worse.

  2. 2. AC [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:05AM ]

    Take a drive up 23 in Michigan. It's not the trucks that are causing the majority of issues. MI is one of the scariest places to try navigating a truck safely. 80% of the auto's drive beyond their ability and immediately go into road rage if your in their way. Split speed is the main cause. 70/60. Obviously a 60 mph vehicle is in danger while all the hate filled clueless idiots are running 70 to 75. Just even out the speed! Are you really that stupid? If so, then you are big part of the problem.

  3. 3. AC [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:09AM ]

    But who lines their pockets. The government. They act like the voice for big government (comunist) rules and big government rewards them.

  4. 4. Terry [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:11AM ]

    Mr. Graves would have a fit if we limited his car... How about Mr. Graves and the rest of the ATA get out from behind the desk and get it a truck for a few years and become part of the real trucking world. If you (ata) want to keep regulating me, how about come move this freight and I'll go home and ride my motorcycle.

  5. 5. Cliff Downing [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:35AM ]

    It is indeed pretty sad when those that claim to be for you are the ones you have to watch out for the most. But in this Orwellian nightmare that is modern politics and such, It is understandable. I often wonder though, what makes a person so motivated to try and force everyone else to live like that person thinks they should? And couch it is terms like "safety" and "it's for the children" to guilt trip everyone into compliance. But a quick look online and I found out why. He is a Methodist. Those are the folks that gave us prohibition and similar stuff. And he got his college degree for Kansas Wesleyan. You want to find out why someone does something, look at their up bringing.

  6. 6. Larry S. Engle [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:46AM ]

    Note, this is my opinion, not necessarily my employer's: What a load of political bs! The big trucking companies want this ruling so their competitors no longer have a "time" advantage, thus allowing them to keep running at the "economical" speed. 18% of fatalities? What is the ATA suggesting to do about the other 82%?

  7. 7. John Stombaugh [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:58AM ]

    Would be nice but they can't even get their numbers right. They are out for the big company's (The training company's) Not the whole trucking community. What should be done is proper training. BACK that up. PROPER TEACHING of new drivers.I never was good at being trained I still do not sit, speak or roll over very well. And I DO NOT BEG 40 years trucks driving still learn something new everyday

  8. 8. James [ April 21, 2015 @ 05:03AM ]

    We already see it with the big companies with the speed cut back and e-logs. It is NOT the speed on the interstates and rural hyways it is the speed threw parking lot and small towns that creates the safety concerns. They are so focused on making up for lost time they speed threw these restricted areas. So a truck goveren at 65 will still do alot of damage when it hits a car running 45 threw a construction zone. Does anyone use common since any more!

  9. 9. Kenny Keith [ April 21, 2015 @ 05:27AM ]

    Another case of big brother controlling what we do in a "free society". As a small fleet owner I have never had the feeling that the ATA has my back. Its hard enough to get people interested in driving without another regulation tying our hands and our ability to earn. What makes us special to our customers is performance. We out perform all the big companies that bow down to the ATA in every metric known to this business. Leave us alone and unshackle us. We are big boys and girls and are quite capable of getting along with others without the mandates!

  10. 10. Tom Kelpe [ April 21, 2015 @ 05:56AM ]

    I am 61 years old and have had my chaufferrs license (now a CDL) since I was 18. I operate a utility and municipal contracting company and still do some heavy haul loads myself up to 150,000#. The true danger on the interstate highway is the slower trucks impeding traffic. I have personally followed trucks side by side for over 10 miles that could not pass each other. This is a true cause for road rage, a public nuisance and a real threat to all motorists, all in the guise of "speed govern safety". The trucks that we operate with speed control we set at 80 MPH, so that in 70 MPH and 75 MPH speed limit areas, which we run, we can get around another vehicle be courteous to other motorist and avoid being a hazard on the highway. I find it so typical of "big business" always complaining about driver turnover , then continue to make the occupation less and less desirable through unpleasant needless restrictions. Treat drivers like the professionals they are instead of robots and just maybe the "driver turnover" problem would resolve itself. I personally would recommend the ATA move itself and all members to China where they can restrict themselves right into the ground. I served in the US Army Corps of Engineers and will support freedom we have as Americans to the end of my life, and at the same time respect the opinions of those I disagree with.

  11. 11. Ruben Madrid [ April 21, 2015 @ 06:09AM ]

    ATA, you are not a truck association, you get pay but the big trucking companies to take their wantings to FMCSA, I have been driving for 20 years thanks to my Creator and my use of common sense; I drive my truck the speed limit of every State, pass ENGLAND JBHUNT CRETE SWIFT WAL-MART ETC, STOP eat shower rest passed again and get there a long time before they get there, and they don't like that, that's why they want to put speed limiter in my truck, by the way I have been involved in a crash yet, I have not hurt anyone with my truck yet. 20 years.

  12. 12. Ruben Madrid [ April 21, 2015 @ 06:22AM ]

    I meant to say have not been involved in a crash yet on my comments.

  13. 13. Jeff [ April 21, 2015 @ 06:35AM ]

    All this is about is leveling the playing field for those the ATA represents, just like many of the other comments have said. Wait till some of these companies start getting the newer trucks that actually do worse MPG wise in lower speeds, what then.
    We are taking the professionalism away from the driver, just like logs and so forth. If you have been successful and safe and have the experience to prove it you should not have to turn your truck down or get an ELD.
    If you are a newbie, fine until you prove otherwise. We need to recognize our professionals and let them have it their way, the least we can do.
    Canada has had this fight for some time, and finding that all the limiter does is create safety and congestions issues on the road. It is back in their courts for again when driver have sued. Enough regs.

  14. 14. Bill [ April 21, 2015 @ 07:07AM ]

    ATA is not only a front for those big outfits, but they are also a "progressive" organization that acts on behalf of the current regime in DC. Progressive means "socialist".

    ATA, stop trying to force owner operators out of business with your ridiculous rules!!! Just because your insurance requires all of this crap to keep your rates low (due to your low pay you can't hire quality drivers). Those of us that choose to operate our own rigs don't need the training wheels!

    And to call yourselves the Ameeican Trucking Assiciation? You don't represent real truckers, or anything Ameeican either!

  15. 15. Raymond Elder [ April 21, 2015 @ 09:34AM ]

    The ATA is a disgrace! Another establishment monster trying to smash the little guys. We do not need anymore regulations in this business. Sounds like they are Obama supporters. Socialist pigs!!

  16. 16. Kim Grimm [ April 21, 2015 @ 02:04PM ]

    You have to be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel I am speaking from experience 37 years and nearly 4 million miles of safe driving. Running west through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California on a weekly basis for years. Take a good look at the trucks involved in the crashes in Wyoming this week. They are saying that speed limiters and E Logs are going to make our roads safer. Companies are being forced to buy automatic trucks because they can't find drivers if they have a manual transmission:( If Safety is Really what the goal is MAYBE TRAINING should be a greater priority! Sending people out in trucks who have drove for barely a few months and then you send them across Wyoming in winter conditions and then you are amazed at the wrecks that are happening. COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Turn on the E-Log and the clock is ticking in you governed 65 mph truck and then road conditions turn bad and when the pile up starts the end result is tragic. I drove a big fast truck and I KNEW when to slow down and I did NOT follow too close. I pray that one day soon the regulators start making safety the real priority

  17. 17. Steve [ April 21, 2015 @ 04:53PM ]

    The hell with the ATA and what they say they are in it for the Major carriers. Screwing the little guy is their Major Goal. Fill seats for the big companies is what they want it has nothing to do with Safety
    Because if it did they wouldn't be pushing some of the Bull Shut they are. Like putting 18 year olds in the seats of over the road trucks. All I can say is that every one of you guys and gals that want to keep on Trucking should get on the Phone with your Legislators.

  18. 18. Carlton Biggs [ April 21, 2015 @ 08:25PM ]

    I agree with everything above said. This ATA is just for big companies wanting to put small companies and O/O out of business.Split speed limits are a danger and problem, so slow down the real speeders with limiters on four wheelers and also on Mr. Graves. I bet he don't obey speed limits.

  19. 19. Scott Miller [ April 21, 2015 @ 10:55PM ]

    "Many semitrailer trucks on the nation’s roads are driven faster than the 75 mph their tires are designed to handle, a practice that has been linked to wrecks and blowouts but that has largely escaped the attention of highway officials."

    A limiter can and will be removed by savvy independent truckers. They DO, on the other hand, manufacture better tires for trucks designed for high speeds, so mandate them for all trucks and trailers. The extra cost is minimal. Problem solved.

    Furthermore, studies show the 55 mph nation-wide speed limit imposed in 1974 did NOT slow traffic down beyond the first year or so (and was marginally effective at that). Gas prices are a much more effective means of slowing traffic, as most motorists do not obey posted speed limits set below the design speeds of a given roadway. Artificially low speed limits do a GREAT job, however, of generating LOTS of revenue for the insurance industry in conjunction with the state from fines and points.

    The American Trucking Association is going about the problem in the wrong way. Making a dedicated lane for truck traffic with correct tires is a much better answer. In fact, some states are now enforcing "Keep Right. Do Not Pass" laws for trucks.

  20. 20. steelhauler [ April 22, 2015 @ 04:53AM ]

    sounds like some left wing special interest group is paying for this, somebody is getting a kickback. I guess they want to do all of the thinking for us they want us to be mindless drones.

  21. 21. steelhauler [ April 22, 2015 @ 05:04AM ]

    when you take away the ability for us to think for ourselves you are trying to create a robot

  22. 22. Thomas Duncan [ April 22, 2015 @ 08:14AM ]

    This crap has to be stopped is more dangerous with these fools making decisions that give them complete control of the truck driver and try to disguise it as "safety"....The public must be made aware of these giants that are dictating the law that has created an exodus of true truckers from the business and making it dangerous for everyone in the real name of control and profit!!!!!

  23. 23. Paul O. Paad [ April 23, 2015 @ 12:55PM ]

    A decrease of 10 mph in the speed limit could result in a driver losing $200 per week in mileage pay. On a 50 week year, that ends up costing a driver $10,000 per year. Even if my estimates are high, I can see where this could lower and OTR driver's pay by $5 - 7 thousand per year easily. So here we go again. Another regulation that the driver will end up paying for in the long run. And wasn't there a study done that showed that split speed limits were actually more dangerous?

  24. 24. Justin [ April 23, 2015 @ 06:42PM ]

    ATA has never been for the betterment of the entire trucking industry.
    They have always been a political arm of the mega-carriers.
    Common sense and basic physics says that limiting speeds for only a select group of vehicles and not all vehicles will only increase the likelihood and severity of a crash.Think; super-collider,the atom smasher.
    What business is it of a trucking lobby and a "safety" agency to set maximum speed limits for not only the USA,but Canada and Mexico too??

  25. 25. Vince Loving [ April 24, 2015 @ 05:28AM ]

    ATA has never had trucking's interest in mind. ATA is and always has been a lobby for their membership which is heavily comprised of large LTL carriers such as YRC, ABF and others.What ATA should be pushing for is greater training and training standards for the driving schools. Whether a truck driving school or one geared to get people their first license there is little if any standard. Speed is indeed a factor, but poor habits and inexperience are what drive the incidents in the first place. Sometimes I think that the folks at the ATA are too busy reading the paper in the back of the limo to notice how terrible people drive anymore.

  26. 26. William [ April 25, 2015 @ 07:46AM ]

    Bill Graves doesn't represent the trucking Industry.. The ATA does not have the truckers interest in mind.

  27. 27. Gary [ April 25, 2015 @ 12:25PM ]

    If you want to know who's trucks have speed limiters on them, just note the name on the side of the trucks that consistently pass you going 60, 65, or 68 mph in a 40, 45, 50 or 55 mph zone.

  28. 28. David [ April 25, 2015 @ 04:18PM ]

    Who in the hell does the ata think they are trying to control other peoples business. They might want to take a look in their on backyard before they look over the fence

  29. 29. James Alford [ April 27, 2015 @ 04:23AM ]

    ATA is not for the American Truckers. They are for the American large corporations. It is not about safety, it is about pasing more regulations that give them a advantage, and drives out the small companies that can't afford them. If they really wanted safety they would push for mandatory training and at least a six month apprenticeship of deivers before allowing them on our highwaya by themselves. That would save more lives then all the other regs combined. But they won't do that, becauae it would cut into their profits.

  30. 30. stephen w [ April 27, 2015 @ 12:36PM ]

    Make theATA pay every driver that agrees to a speed limter and E-log get$21.00us per plus over time after 10 hours on duty per day and they will not need to pass the law. The ATA needs to pay truck drivers Much better first

  31. 31. Tee [ April 28, 2015 @ 11:24AM ]

    Letter To ATA & OODIA
    PostDateIcon April 28th, 2015 | PostAuthorIcon Author: admin | PostEditIcon Edit
    This is a recent letter I wrote to both the ATA & OODIA:

    Split Speed Limits Kill

    To Whom This Concerns,

    I am applaud by your support to ask the Federal Government & FMCSA to enact this law for speed limiters on Trucks grossing 26,000 lbs or more.

    I find your organization ruthless and promoting unsafe split speed limits on our nations highways system. Study after study has shown that split speed limits kill more people every year in this country! Yet, you claim that by slowing us down to 65 will be safer. WRONG! Studies show that when traffic moves at a equal speed you have fewer accidents and deaths. So why would you promote unsafe measures for our industry? I tell you why, because you are supported by big business trucking companies such as Schneider National who supports split speed limits on our nations highways! Simply because they fill they cant compete against other carriers who provides safe efficient service to there customers which cause big money carriers a disadvantage in delivering freight in a timely manner. Therefore you reside with big money not safety!

    I run at 70 mph and trust me I can move the freight just fine ! I don’t have any issues with safety or fuel mileage in fact I get a steady 7 plus miles per gallon on my tractor with less time on my log and tractor. So, NO your organization is not for truckers but yet to stab the owner operators that is trying to provide for there country and families in the back and help big money companies gain access to more freight to put us all out of business. Rest assured, you don’t represent me in any way and I would never be part of a organization that promotes unsafe and unfair practices like The American Trucking Association does.

    Maybe its time for drivers and OOIDA to file class action suites against ATA, FMCSA and The Fedral Goverment!

    Split Speed Limits Kill

  32. 32. steve [ May 03, 2015 @ 11:56AM ]

    Tee I drive at 63 MPH or less except when passing. The ATA is trying to push small trucking companies out of trucking. If the ATA wants split speeds we need split roads.

  33. 33. Edward Thiems [ May 04, 2015 @ 07:45AM ]

    I, like a lot of the other folks am amazed at the ignorance of the governing bodies. Why would they not require colision control devices instead of limiting speed. More research into the "collision claims" would surely indicate driver error. With more companies hiring "drivers" that have no bussiness driving a vehicle weighing 70,00 to 80,000. If they would get out of their chairs and get out on the road, they may be able to understand the real problem.


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