Focused on Speed, Fuel and Sleep — The last
month has seen the MTA active on key issues
impacting your operations: speed limiters, biodiesel
and split sleeper berth.
Speed Limiters — At its September meeting,
your board of directors adopted a policy opposing
any mandate of speed limiters on new Class 7 or
8 trucks. The MTA believes mandating the use of
speed limiters will reduce highway safety by creating
speed differentials between passenger cars
and large trucks. Case in point, ANY of the speeds
suggested in the proposed rule (60, 65 or 68 miles
per hour) would be below Minnesota’s maximum
70 mile per hour speed limit.
We believe mandating speed via limiters would
create additional highway safety risks. If all trucks
are limited to the same maximum speed, they will
naturally bunch together as they approach each
other on roadways. Congestion would increase.
These functional truck “convoys” would create
challenges for all motorists trying to merge
between the trucks at entrance ramps. Cars would
likely engage in more risky behavior as they cut in
front of trucks.
Limiters would also create a challenge for trucks
attempting to pass each other, if not make it practically
impossible in many situations.
The MTA believes states should establish speed
limits within their jurisdictions. State engineering
and traffic safety professionals have the best
insight into what the appropriate speed is for
any vehicle given the terrain and conditions. Nor
should speed limiters replace consistent enforcement
of posted speed limits among all highway
The MTA will be submitting formal comments to
the federal docket on this proposal.
Biodiesel — On September 29, U.S. District
Judge John Tunheim ruled against the Minnesota
Trucking Association and four other plaintiffs,
concluding that federal laws do not pre-empt
Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate. To say the least,
we are very disappointed in Chief Judge Tunheim’s
Four other organizations joined the MTA in asking
for a permanent injunction barring the state’s
mandate, as well as the planned increased to 20
percent in 2018. We are reviewing the opinion and
discussing our options with the other plaintiffs in
this litigation. The MTA board will also review possible
legislative options in the wake of this ruling.
Split Sleeper — I had the opportunity to discuss
with FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling the agency’s
split sleeper berth study during the recent
ATA convention in Las Vegas. We talked about the
importance of this study to validate the safety of
split sleeper berth time and the flexibility this
could provide to fleets and drivers. Mr. Jack Van
Steenburg, FMCSA Chief Safety Officer, will be the
featured speaker at our January Safety Conference.
He will review the progress of this study and other
initiatives of FMCSA.
Happy Thanksgiving — Despite all of the regulatory
challenges, it is important to remember we
have so much to be thankful for. Friends, family
and a truly essential industry top the list. From
our home to yours, here is wishing you a Happy
Thanksgiving and a table full of all the holiday
foods that trucking makes possible.