Senator Chuck Schumer

Senator Chuck Schumer 

Influential Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) lent his support to the proposed federal rule that would mandate electronic speed limiters on commercial vehicles during an Oct. 13 campaign stop on Long Island.

“There’s nothing more harrowing than having a 12-wheeler behind you going fast,” Schumer said while standing alongside the notoriously hectic Long Island Expressway, per a news report posted by  Schumer, New York’s senior senator is running for reelection and is in line to succeed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as the Senate’s Democratic leader.

Back in August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration jointly proposed that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with speed-limiting devices set to a specific maximum speed.

However, as of yet, the agencies have not proposed a specific speed limit for the proposed limiters. The Department of Transportation has said only that the proposal “discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but the agencies will consider other speeds based on public input.”

That lack of specificity drew the scorn of Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, earlier this month during a press briefing at ATA’s Management Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas. “The various differentials in speed from what this rule proposes and what state speed limits are is dangerous,” he said. “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,” Spear 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."

As reported by, Schumer acknowledged that rulemaking is a slow process, but he urged DOT to act quickly to finalize the speed-limiter rule. In response to concerns raised about the negative impact of such a rule on trucking, the senator reportedly noted that putting a speed-limiter rule in place is supported by ATA.

Related: ATA's Spear Slams Proposed Speed-Limiter Rule

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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