New Bill Will Cap Semi Truck Speed Limiters at 65 MPH

Last week Senators Johnny Isakson and Chris Coons introduced the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019, S. 2023. That they say will save lives and improve highway safety. The legislation is named after Cullum Owings, who was killed while returning to school by a semi truck driving too fast to stop. This law is to revive speed limiters for a nationwide cap of 65 mph. If the bill passes it would require DOT to enforce the mandate.

According to a news release from Senator Isakson’s office, the bill will, “require all new commercial trucks with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more to be equipped with speed-limiting devices, which must be set to a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and be used at all times while in operation.” However, trucks without speed limiters will not be forced to install the technology and trucks with the existing technology must be in compliance.

During the proposal of the regulation, the Department of Transportation stated that by limiting truck speeds to 65 mph would save 63-214 lives a year. The legislation would also require the U.S Department of Transportation, given a time frame of six months, to establish standards and rules to ensure that the speed-limiting technology on the required trucks is accurate and effective. 

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Coming Soon: Flexible HOS Rules

The Department of Transportation is considering to ease up on the current HOS rules for the amount of hours drivers are allowed to drive. The regulation currently limits long-haul truck drivers 11 hours of driving within a 14 hour on-duty time period, accompanied by 10 consecutive hours off duty. Ever since the regulations were put into place early last year, the trucking industry has been fighting to have the HOS revised.

In a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 4,657 big rigs were involved in fatal crashes in 2017, which is a 10% increase from the previous year. However, only 60 of the divers in these fatal crashes were identified as fatigued. Which instigates the hypothesis that if the HOS regulations were to loosen up, could this result in an even larger spike in driver fatigue related crashes? According to the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Cathy Chase, who stated that the proposed flexibility on the HOS regulation is, “a code word for deregulation”, and “the hours of service requirements, which permit truckers to drive up to 11 hours each day, are already exceedingly liberal in our estimation.”

The HOS regulations were established in 1938, by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which no longer exists as of 1996.  However, the HOS were originally as follows: drivers limited to 12 hours of work within a 15-hour period, and work was defined as unloading, driving, handling freight, preparing reports, preparing vehicles for service, or performing any other duties related to the transportation of passengers or property. In conclusion, the maximum hours allowed to drive was 60 hours over 7 days for non-daily drivers and 70 hours over 8 days for daily drivers.

Currently, the proposed revision is being reviewed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States. In a statement from the FMCSA to AP at the OMB, they’re reviewing the proposed changes that have yet to be made public.

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MTO: 2% Plate Increase Set For July 2020

The government of Ontario announced that starting July 2020 commercial place prices will begin to increase by two percent and continue to rise by two percent each year until 2023. Oversized single trip and blanket permits already increased by 2 two percent on July 2019. According to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), “The highest priced commercial plates will go from $4,693.00 in 2019 to $4,786.75 in 2020.” The price will continue to rise by two percent every year until 2023. 

In 2014 Ontario charged up to 70 percent for commercial plates and fees to accommodate for the long absence of no increased fees. The OTA told the Ontario government that, “such rapid increases could not be absorbed in the supply chain and that any increases should be modest and better planned by being tied to either the CPPI or inflation.” Naturally, we experience increased fees to not only reduce the need for additional revenue sources, but the money is invested back into the community.

In summary to the OTA chart, a complete list of fees and plate increases is listed below:

Product/ServiceScheduled to
increase to
Fee will remain at
Driver’s Licence Original and Renewal$91.50$90.00
Driver Instructor’s
Licence
$1.36/month$1.33/month
Passenger Vehicle
Validation
$122.00 (South)  
$61.00 (North)
$120.00 (South) 
$60.00 (North)
Light Commercial <3,000kgVehicle Validation – Personal Use Only $122.00 (South)  
$61.00 (North)
$120.00 (South)  
$60.00 (North)
Light Commercial <3,000kg Vehicle Validation –
Business
$122.00$120.00
Motorcycle and Moped
Validation
Motorcycle: $43.00 South $21.50 North Moped: $12.25Motorcycle: $42.00 South $21.00 NorthMoped: $12.00
Heavy Commercial
Vehicle Validation – IRP
$270.50 – $4,786.75$265.25 – $4,693.00
Heavy Commercial
Vehicle Validation – non-IRP
$270.50 – $4,786.75$265.25 – $4,693.00
Farm Vehicle Validation$160.25 – $1,270.50$157.00 – $1,245.50

OTA chair David Carruth stated that while no one wants to pay more fees, a measured and planned approach to the public would allow the industry to plan with other members of the supply chain to discuss the increased fees prior to them taking effect. Carruth said, “As an industry, what we’d like to see is these extra plate and fee revenues being directed to MTO and other provincial enforcement officers to support targeted enforcement aimed at the bottom of our industry who use ELD cheat devices, emissions control delete kits, deactivated speed limiters and those who use the Driver Inc model for employing drivers and to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and WSIB remittances at the expense of responsible, compliant carriers.” Carruth believes that those who are cheating the system should be the ones subjected to the increased fees rather than the greater public.

Source: http://ontruck.org/mto-introduces-2-scheduled-plate-increases-for-july-2020/

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