Big changes are on the way for the trucking industry this year, and businesses that invest in route optimization software will likely experience a smoother transition. Safety has always been a top concern for agencies such as the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and it has influenced many of the regulations that have affected fleet owners in the last several decades.
According to Commercial Carrier Journal, the FMCSA is considering introducing a new rule that would require businesses to include automatic speed limiter devices in their heavy-duty trucks as early as this year. The publication cited a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that indicated the official rule will be sent to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for approval by May 21. After that, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would review the legislation. If all goes as planned, the FMCSA may publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by October 1.
U.S. follows example set by Canadian regulators
Requiring trucking companies to utilize electronic control modules in their vehicles that set limits on how fast a driver can go would have a significant impact on daily operations. For example, the automatic controls would likely lead to reduced fuel consumption. However, it may also affect delivery times in certain circumstances. Still, the U.S. has looked to other nations for examples of similar regulations. Fleet Owner reported on a session at the recent Zonar Systems user conference in San Antonio, Texas, in which Kerri Wirachowsky, an enforcement program advisor with the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario, Canada, revealed the benefits of a similar rule. She cited a study from Transport Canada that found capping trucks at 65 mph would reduce carbon emissions by 280,000 tons each year.
"I would expect that there would be a lot of similarities between a U.S. speed limiter rule and what we have simply because they are functions of the (electronic control module) on the trucks on both our roads," Kerri Wirachowsky said at the conference. "A standard feature on any ECM is the ability to govern the vehicle's top speed by limiting the amount of fuel provided to the injectors."
If a speed limiter measure ends up being introduced in the U.S., fleet owners can utilize resources such as delivery routing software to make sure they continue transporting goods on time. Drastic changes to driver behavior may require businesses to identify faster routes on a regular basis. This technology makes it easy for managers to make more informed choices about how they dispatch their trucks according to a variety of data.