Blog Post

Speed Limiters 101

May 26, 2023

When decisions are being made in Washington that impact our members, ATA will always be in that room with a seat at the table. Others remain on the outside, banging their fists on the door and yelling for attention as they always do, without any results to show for it. 

ATA engages any lawmaker who knows our story and appreciates what our industry does for every American throughout the economy and across our country. When regulators put forth new rulemakings, we make certain why data must drive the process, not press releases masquerading as real-world policy.  

We don't point fingers nor cast blame. We steer actual outcomes. That is why we win. 

With respect to speed limiters, official ATA policy supports 70 MPH in trucks equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking and Adaptive Cruise Control. In trucks without these safety technologies, our policy supports a maximum set speed of 65 MPH.    

To be clear: a USDOT rule on speed limiters is coming. ATA will again be at the table, steering an outcome with a data-driven policy, not baseless rhetoric.  

We continue to fight efforts by anti-truck groups to pursue a speed-limiter rule setting speeds in the low 60s. Anti-truck advocates pushed to include that in the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and ATA fought successfully to keep those provisions out of the final bill.  

As a member-driven organization, ATA policy is set by our member companies. Our speed limiter policy was last revised and voted upon in 2019 by the Safety Policy Committee, made up of 120 small, medium, and large carriers. We are an engaged, dynamic association, and our policy committees convene in-person twice a year to set the course.   

 ATA policies are not static, nor should they be. When new data emerges, new technologies come online, or new safety concerns are raised -- like increased speed limits for passenger vehicles -- we assess and amend as needed. As the world changes, we adapt to the environment in which we operate. That is called common sense.

When legislative text or rulemakings don't align with our policies, we work the process to achieve alignment. If those bills or rules ultimately fail to align, we oppose and work to defeat them -- just as we did with the 2016 speed limiter rule and the Obama Administration’s flawed Hours of Service Restart rule. We’ll do it again if USDOT’s newly anticipated speed limiter rule falls short of our policy.  

That is precisely why we have policies. “No” is not a policy; it’s an excuse to do nothing. In defiance of safety, “no” amounts to saying drivers should go as fast as they want for as long they want while operating 80,000 lb. vehicles.   

Blaming ATA for a USDOT rulemaking that hasn't even come out yet is sure desperate, but what can you do? Not everyone is equipped or capable of navigating the federal process today. In a bid to stay relevant, many fall to desperation. But that’s not a winning strategy.  

At the end of the day, we don't lose sleep over others’ impotence. We're too busy delivering results for our members.