US government proposes new speed limits for big rig vehicles

FMCSA is proposing a complementary Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) requiring multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses and school buses with a GVWR of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) operating in interstate commerce to be equipped with a speed limiting device meeting the requirements of the proposed FMVSS applicable to the vehicle at the time of manufacture, including the requirement that the device be set to a speed not greater than the specified speed.

Motor carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices for the service life of the vehicle.

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NHTSA is proposing that speed limiting device requirements apply to all multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of more than 11,793.4 kg (26,000 pounds). NHTSA considered several factors in determining the GVWR threshold for the proposed FMVSS. These vehicles carry the heaviest loads, and small increases in their speed have larger effects on the force of impact in a crash. Additionally, many of these vehicles are regulated by FMCSA and its State partners, permitting the establishment of an FMCSR to ensure the enforcement of the speed limiting requirements throughout the life of the vehicles.

The agencies estimate that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph would save 162 to 498 lives annually, limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 65 mph would save 63 to 214 lives annually, and limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 68 mph would save 27 to 96 lives annually.

Although they believe that the 60 mph alternative would result in additional safety benefits, we are not able to quantify the 60 mph alternative with the same confidence as the 65 mph and 68 mph alternatives.