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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today sent a letter to the Trump administration calling attention to a long-overdue and much-needed safety measure that would require all large trucks to have speed limit devices to cap maximum speeds to a predetermined mileage-per-hour. 

In his letter to Elaine Chao, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Isakson argued that the so-called “speed limiter rule” would have minimal cost and that the department itself has stated that implementing the rule would decrease the number of fatalities involving heavy trucks each year.   

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed rule on heavy truck speed limiting devices has the potential to save thousands of lives each year, but has unfortunately been delayed by a bureaucratic rulemaking process since 2011,” Isakson wrote. 

After a number of unnecessary delays, a proposed speed limiter rule was approved by the Office of Management and Budget and ultimately published by the U.S. Department of Transportation for comment last year on Sept. 7, 2016. However as currently written, the rule would only apply to new trucks despite the fact that the majority of existing trucks already have the speed-limiting technology built into their systems. 

“I remain concerned that the rule would only apply to new trucks despite the fact that the majority of existing trucks on our roads already have the speed-limiting technology built into their systems,” wrote Isakson. 

For several years, Isakson has pushed for the proposed rule. He noted in the letter, “A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concluded that trucks not limited by speed governors were in twice as many high-speed collisions as those with the technology activated.” 

Isakson urged Secretary Chao to “expeditiously review and finalize the life-saving rule on heavy truck speed limiting devices.” 

“I am hopeful that with Secretary Chao’s interest and expertise in our government and transportation, that this commonsense measure will finally take priority,” said Isakson. “Speed limiting technology saves lives, and the United States has unfortunately lagged behind the rest of the technologically advanced world in this area.” 

In 2016, Isakson introduced an amendment that was included in a Senate-passed transportation funding measure that directed the previous U.S. secretary of transportation under former President Obama to issue a final rule requiring the use of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks by no later than six months after enactment into law. 

A copy of the letter sent to Sec. Chao today, Feb. 16, 2017, is available here. 

Background: 

Since 2011, the Department of Transportation has delayed the proposed rulemaking of the “speed limiter rule” more than 20 times. The original publication date was expected in December 2011. However, subsequent delays extended the deadline for publishing the proposed rule to its latest expected date of Aug. 26, 2016. 

According to the Department of Transportation, the “speed limiter rule” would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set. The department has also found that the rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes a year involving vehicles with a weight of 26,000 pounds or more on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more.

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