The Department of Transportation’s proposal to require speed limiters for large commercial vehicles fails to take into account the fact that many commercial vehicles often cover hundreds of miles on open roads with few other vehicles, Farm Bureau pointed out in recently submitted comments.
In addition, the proposed rule would pass on significant costs to already struggling farmers and ranchers who only use heavier trucks seasonally.
The proposed rule, put forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and DOT, would require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with a speed limiting device initially set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in a final rule and would require motor carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce to maintain functional speed limiting devices set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in the final rule for the service life of the vehicle.
Speed limits should not be arbitrarily established by federal rule, Farm Bureau said in its comments. Instead, it should be based on conditions in the area in which it’s posted.
“Our members operate in all types of environments from the most rural regions of this country to more urban areas in high population densities. That is one of the reasons we have different posted speed limits for different scenarios based on the distinct local conditions,” the organization said.
“The proposal ignores the fact that many commercial vehicles often operate for hundreds of miles without much interaction with other traffic. There is no clear rationale in the rule for suggesting a truck traveling in a rural setting with minimal traffic should have the same top speed as a truck traveling in a large city,” Farm Bureau continued.
The organization also pointed out that the proposal would be too costly for farmers and ranchers who use large trucks only during certain times of the year.
“The rule, if adopted, would pass on significant costs to our members who do not operate as commercial motor vehicle enterprises but only utilize heavier trucks seasonally. These costs would impact an industry that is currently struggling to make ends meet with the recent downturn in the farm economy,” Farm Bureau said.