News Releases

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Isakson, Perdue to Transportation Secretary: Unfinished Truck Rule May Have Saved Five Lives in Georgia

Admonish administration for years-long delay of 'speed limiters' rule, urges common sense safety measure move forward without further delay

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., today called on the Obama administration to act expeditiously to adopt a long-overdue and much-needed safety measure that would require large trucks to have speed limit devices to cap maximum speeds to a predetermined mileage-per-hour.

This proposed mandate, Isakson and Perdue argued, has the ability to greatly reduce the number of accidents caused by speeding trucks that often result in serious injury or death.

In a letter to the United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Isakson voiced serious concerns over the numerous negligent delays that have occurred since 2011 on issuance of the Department of Transportation’s long-overdue rule to mandate electronic speed limiting devices on the country’s heaviest trucks.

“We are aware that according to your regulatory calendar, as well as in repeated hearing statements, you have committed to issuing the final rule from the Department of Transportation on electronic logging and the proposed rule on speed limiter settings for our heaviest trucks within the next few months,” Isakson and Perdue wrote in a letter to Sec. Foxx. “The speed limiter ruling in particular has the potential to drastically decrease the number of high-speed and runaway truck accidents across the country.”

Isakson and Perdue pointed to a fatal multivehicle crash in his home state of Georgia on April 22, 2015, as an example of how this life-saving safety measure, if enacted as promised more than six years ago, could have prevented the deaths of five young nursing students who were run over by a tractor-trailer truck while traveling on Interstate 16 between Statesboro and Savannah, Ga.

“It is unfortunate that we have to read about another tragedy such as the one in Georgia on the front pages of our hometown newspapers while the Department continues to delay the issuance of its rule for this common sense safety measure – originally scheduled to be released in August of 2011 – that could have reduced the violence of the crash and may have even saved the lives of these five young ladies,” they continued.

Since 2011, the Department of Transportation has delayed the proposed rulemaking of the “speed limiter rule” 20 times. The original publication date was expected in December 2011, and subsequent delays have punted the deadline for publishing the proposed rule to its latest expected date of July 27, 2015.

According to the Department of Transportation, the “speed limiter rule” would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed. 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 higher.

On Dec. 10, 2014, Isakson received commitment from Mark Rosekind, who at the time was the nominee to be and has since been confirmed as administrator of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, to discuss the rule. Despite receiving Rosekind’s commitment to see the rule through, there have been two additional delays since then.

Isakson also received commitment from Assistant Secretary of Transportation Carlos A. Monje, Jr., on March 11, 2015, to expedite the proposed rule.

A copy of the letter sent to Sec. Foxx today, May 14, 2015, is available here.