DRIVE Act introduced to prohibit FMCSA’s speed limiter rule
On May 4, U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK) introduced the Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen Wheelers (DRIVE) Act, which would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from implementing a rule requiring vehicles over 26,000 pounds be equipped with a speed-limiting device.
Brecheen notes the legislation would apply to those involved in interstate commerce, such as semis, livestock truck and trailer combos, grain trucks and other large commercial vehicles, and he believes the DRIVE Act will protect the agriculture industry from government overreach.
Brecheen’s legislation comes in response to a rule proposed by FMCSA which would require speed-limiting devices in commercial vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds.
FMCSA believes new rules are needed to help reduce crashes and save more lives on the nation’s highways.
The administration cites 2019 data, which reports 860 fatal crashes in areas with posted speed limits of 70 to 75 miles per hour (mph) and 24 fatal crashes in areas with speed limits of 80 to 85 mph. These incidents accounted for nearly 20 percent of fatal crashes nationwide.
However, despite these statistics, Brecheen and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) President Todd Spencer believe speed-limiting devices would only lead to unnecessary congestion and dangerous speed differentials, leading to higher crash rates.
“The physics is straightforward – limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles and leads to more crashes,” said Spencer in a May 2 press release. “OOIDA and our 150,000 members in small business trucking across America thank Congressman Brecheen for his leadership in keeping our roadways safe for truckers and for all road users.”
In the same press release Brecheen states, “This overreach by the Biden administration has the potential to negatively impact all facets of the agricultural and trucking industries.”
“I know from experience driving a semi while hauling equipment and years spent hauling livestock, the flow of traffic set by state law is critical for safety instead of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all speed limit imposed by some bureaucrat sitting at his desk in Washington, D.C.,” he says.
“This rule will add one more needless burden, and Congress must stop it,” he adds. “For example, if a rancher is transporting cattle in a trailer across state lines, under this rule, the federal government would require a speed-limiter device when above 26,000 pounds. Out-of-control bureaucrats are trying to impose ridiculous regulations on Americans who are trying to make ends meet.”
In addition to OOIDA, several other agricultural and trucking industry groups have made statements in support of the DRIVE Act, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Western States Trucking Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies and the Towing and Recovery Association of America.
“Our members are responsible for the daily transportation of millions of animals. Livestock haulers must take into consideration the welfare of their cargo which means avoiding rough-road conditions, adjusting speed and being more aware of their surroundings to prevent animal injury,” says USCA Committee Chairman Steve Hilker.
“USCA is opposed to any federal mandate limiting a driver’s autonomy over their own truck and trailer. We’d like to thank Brecheen for his support of our nation’s livestock haulers through the introduction of the DRIVE Act,” he adds.
As of May 8, Reps. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Scott Perry (R-PA), Eric Burlison (R-MO), John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Matt Rosendale (R-MT) also expressed support by cosponsoring the bill.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.