In an earlier article (see Holland & Knight's alert, "Will the Trump Administration Hit the Brakes on the Speed Limiter Rule?", Jan. 9, 2017), we addressed whether the Trump Administration would hit the brakes on the controversial Speed Limiter rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The answer appears to be yes, because the proposed rule has stalled and it appears unlikely that it will be enacted anytime soon, if ever.

As previously reported, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dated Sept. 7, 2016, it was proposed that each new multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus and school bus with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) be equipped with a speed limiting device. The speed limits suggested for trucks in the proposed rule are 60, 65 and 68 mph.

According to DOT, requiring speed limiting devices on heavy vehicles could save lives and an estimated $1 billion in annual fuel costs. The proposed rule has been criticized by numerous groups on the basis that it is based upon insufficient data and fails to make a recommendation regarding which of the three proposed speeds it believes is best and why. In addition, many commenters on the proposed rule argue that the rule is not needed and have even argued that the disparity in speed between trucks and cars would lead to more accidents.

It seems clear for the foreseeable future that President Donald Trump's focus on reducing burdensome government regulations will result in the rollback, repeal or cessation of pending regulations and reduce the number of new regulations. The proposed Speed Limiter Rule lacks widespread support and, in the face of the resistance to new regulations, its passage is in jeopardy. For instance, a broad coalition of 17 trade groups opposing the proposed rule sent a letter on March 21, 2017, to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, copying certain members of Congress, opposing the proposed Speed Limiter rule and other regulations cited in President Trump's Jan.30, 2017, Executive Order titled "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs." The proposed Speed Limiter Rule was identified as a significant regulation whose cost to industries was not justified by meaningful safety or economic value.

As a result of the strong opposition to the proposed Speed Limiter Rule, and the questions that have been raised about whether the rule is needed and whether there is sufficient data in support of the proposed rule, there does not appear to be sufficient momentum for the rule to be enacted.