Speed limiters dead in the water? Don’t bet the farm on it

By Jami Jones, managing editor

There’s some buzz going around that speed limiters are dead in the water thanks to an executive order signed by President Trump.

The order says that for every new proposed regulation, agencies must identify two for repeal. The point of the order is to get a handle on the money it costs to implement and comply with regulations.

Having been around this industry for more than a minute, I can tell you to be careful in putting too much stock in anything, and I mean anything, being dead in the water. It doesn’t even matter if the agency abandons a regulation before making it official. It’s never a done deal.

Case in point: electronic logs.

Those things have been on the agenda of the so-called safety groups and large motor carriers forever. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not rush to get this rule into place. In fact, it was on the back burner for so long, it seemed the agency wasn’t convinced the rule was (or is) a good idea.

Enter some really fat lobbying wallets. ATA and the Anti-Trucking Alliance (excuse me the Trucking Alliance), along with the so-called safety groups, put their money to work and went to Congress. The agency wasn’t moving fast enough to mandate electronic logs. So they got Congress to mandate that FMCSA get it done.

Stuck in the shorter-term highway bill back in 2012 was the electronic log mandate. Congress gave the agency its marching orders, and the agency complied.

Even though speed limiters might be occupying the same a back burner at FMCSA that ELDs did at one point, never for one second believe it’s going to stay that way. The mega fleets and their odd conspirator “safety” groups sure don’t accept that.

They will not be deterred by a Presidential Executive Order. There is also a pesky lawsuit filed on the two-for-one executive order – so its fate remains to be seen.

We all need to remember that these mega fleets pushing speed limiters are just like rats trying to get in out of the cold. They’ll keep looking for a way in. Any way in. We just have to be ready with countermeasures. LL