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What you need to know about the new US truck speed limit proposal

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Updated on 09 Jan 2024
3 min read
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In 1995, the US congress lifted its nationwide 55 mph speed limit in order to reduce fuel costs. This paved the way for states to set their own limits. Since then, these limits have gradually increased, and so has the number of motor vehicle-related deaths. Today, the states with the highest speed limits are located west of the Mississippi River. Five of those 14 states allow speed limits of over 80 mph. Cue entry: US truck speed limit proposal.


US truck speed limit proposal


On 26th August 2016, citing safety reasons, a proposal to install speed-limiting devices on trucks was submitted. It was put forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Already, trucks transporting containers have varying road weight limits to comply to. This proposed change aims to implement the mandatoryinstallation of electronic devices on “newly-made” US vehicles. It forcibly sets a cap on the vehicles’ speeds. This means, like it or not, truck drivers will have no choice but to comply with the new limits, if implemented.


The US government says setting a speed limit would reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles that happen annually. It has yet to decide on a speed limit. But it is considering 60 mph, 65 mph, and 68 mph as options. This figure is, however, still open to debate. Take a look at the infographic below to help you better understand this proposal.


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What happens if the US truck speed limit proposal is put into law


Details of the proposal have been entered into the Federal Register. The public and interested parties have until December 7th to provide feedback before government agencies make their final decision.


If passed, the new regulation won’t take effect until 2018 at the earliest. Even then, truck manufacturers will have three years from the release of the final ruling to adapt and comply.


US truck speed limit: What this means for shippers


The proposal states the responsibility of fitting and maintaining these devices lies in the hands of trucking companies. Those against the bill argue say the new limits will not translate into an increase of safety on roads. Instead, they may even cause more of a hazard as trucks will have to slow down, causing congestion. It also remains to be seen if these additional implementation charges will spill over to customers.


Evidently, having a speed cap would limit the distance trucks can travel per day. That potentially translates to a delay in cargo arrival especially for door-to-door services and potentially the racking up of delay charges such as demurrage and detention.


iContainers will keep an eye on the development of this proposal. Do monitor our blog for relevant updates.

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