Washington, D.C. – The Trucking Alliance has submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in support of the agency’s notice to move forward on a speed limit requirement for large commercial trucks. Here are the comments:
Submission of Comments: Docket Number: FMCSA-2022-0004; Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operations; Speed Limiting Devices
These comments are submitted on behalf of the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance (TA). This coalition is comprised of freight transportation, logistics, and supporting businesses that collectively employ more than 82,000 people who manage 62,000 trucks and 300,000 trailers and containers to serve the nation’s supply chain.
The TA believes the industry is ethically bound to support safety reforms that can reduce and eventually eliminate all large truck crash fatalities. For example, excessive speed is often times a leading factor in large truck crashes. For that reason, TA supports a federal motor carrier safety standard that will require large commercial trucks not to exceed a reasonable maximum highway speed. Large commercial trucks manufactured since 2003 have the technology to easily govern the truck’s maximum speed. All TA carriers are using this truck speed limit technology.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an Advance Notice of Supplemental Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) to proceed with a speed limiter rulemaking. The Trucking Alliance supports FMCSA’s decision.
FMCSA has posed specific questions in its Notice. After consulting with member companies, TA submits the following answers:
1. What percentage of the CMV fleet currently uses speed limiting devices?
TA member carriers utilize speed limiter technologies on more than 98% of their trucks, approximately 62,000 vehicles.
2. If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?
The maximum speed settings vary among the fleets, ranging from 61 mph to 70 mph.
3. What skill sets or training are needed for motor carriers’ maintenance personnel to adjust or program ECUs to set speed limits?
Technicians receive training about their company trucks’ electronic control unit (ECU), either from the truck engine manufacturer or a representative. The course work is usually performed online, requires about 4 to 5 hours of study, and may include training in other operating capabilities of the ECU, including fuel supply, air management, fuel injection and ignition systems. Upon completion of the course work the technicians may receive a proficiency certificate that verifies the successful completion of the course and training.
4. What tools or equipment are needed to adjust or program ECUs?
Required tools and equipment include a computer, licensed software with parameter templates, a tethering cable, and internet connectivity.
5. How long would adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU take?
Reprogramming an ECU usually takes between 15-30 minutes.
6. Where can the adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU be completed?
The adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU may be completed at any location, provided that the tools and equipment referenced above are available.
6a. Can the adjustment or reprogramming of an ECU be made on-site where the vehicle is ordinarily housed or garaged, or would it have to be completed at a dealership?
As long as the ECU’s licensed software, a computer, and internet connectivity are available, the reprogramming can be completed at any licensed dealership or licensed fleet shop.
7. Do responses change to questions 3 through 6 based on the model year of the power unit?
While the processes are similar, different model years may require different software.
8. Since publication of the NPRM, how has standard practice or technology changed as it relates to the ability to set speed limits using ECUs?
Since publication of the NPRM, speed limiting technologies continue to improve. For example, some programs now allow for a brief override in the maximum speed to allow a truck to pass another vehicle on an interstate highway. The adjustment can restrict the cumulative use of this technology per a 24-hour cycle.
9. Are there any challenges or burdens associated with FMCSA publishing a rule without NHTSA updating the FMVSS?
The factors considered in the NPRM are as valid today as when originally published. FMCSA should incorporate the NPRM’s public policy tenets as the agency moves forward with this Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
10. Should FMCSA revisit using the 2003 model year as the baseline requirement for the rule?
TA members believe that the Notice should move forward under either scenario. The FMCSA rule making will require that all carriers not exceed a maximum speed. Whether trucks are equipped with ECUs or not is irrelevant, as an ECU is simply a technology that assists a truck driver to maintain the maximum speed. Drivers who operate CMVs without this ECU technology should still be bound by the federal safety standard.
11. Should FMCSA consider a retrofit requirement in the rule and, if so, should it be based on model year or other criteria, and what would the cost of such a requirement be?
No. While engines equipped with ECUs enable technicians to reprogram the speed settings, the ECU should not be required for compliance. Strict adherence to and enforcement of the federal safety standard that limits the maximum speed of commercial trucks will ensure compliance with the rule.
12. Should FMCSA include Classes 3-6 (i.e., 10,001 – 26,001 lbs. GVWR) in the SNPRM?
TA carriers utilize speed limiter technology on the Class 3-6 trucks they operate in their fleets, however, TA has not taken a position on this question.