The DRIVE Act Could Remove Speed Limiters for Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have long been pushing for speed limiters for heavy-duty trucks. With a heightened focus on freight safety, the FMCSA issued a letter of intent a little over a year ago that opened the door for new rules, including speed limiters, which would greatly impact the trucking industry as a whole. Now there is new legislation, the DRIVE Act, aimed at removing speed limiters.

What Is the DRIVE Act?

The Deregulating Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheelers Act (DRIVE Act) was introduced into the House of Representatives in May of 2023. The legislation is aimed at blocking speed limiters for the agricultural and trucking industries. The bill (HR 3039) aims to prohibit the FMCSA from imposing speed limiters on truckers. The author of the bill, Representative Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma, has sent the DRIVE Act to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where it needs approval before it proceeds to the House floor for debate and voting.

The Potential Impact of Speed Limiters

The argument in favor of speed limiters is that heavy-duty trucks traveling at reduced speeds will help to mitigate risks to drivers, cargo, and other vehicles on the road. The case made by the DRIVE Act is that mandatory speed limits for heavy-duty trucks, livestock transportation, and similar uses will cause major disruptions to the normal flow of traffic, which will lead to an increase in accidents. Beyond the basics, slower speeds will force carriers, owner-operators, and their customers to reconfigure logistics to calculate for longer delivery times on shipments.

Trucking Industry Caught in the Middle

While the DRIVE Act is still relatively new and has yet to reach the floor, the bill is already polarizing people. Opponents of limiters are worried about an increase in accidents and overhauling logistics, and they point out that there is no “one size fits all” solution to speed limits, as those limits vary from state to state. Hauling through New England is different from the Southeast, which is vastly different from speed limits in Texas, and so on. Whether speed limiters lead to more accidents, or if driving with the normal flow of traffic leads to accidents, the trucking industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. New speed restrictions or deregulation will ultimately have one winner – the insurance industry.

Insurance premiums keep rising for carriers and owner-operators. In fact, insurance is one of the largest start-up and ongoing costs for trucking companies. As courts continue to issue nuclear verdicts in accident cases where a truck is involved, insurance providers keep increasing rates. If speed limiters are put in place, then insurance providers can raise premiums based on the average monitored speed of drivers. If the DRIVE Act gets passed and limiters are blocked, then insurance rates will continue to rise, with providers pointing to deregulation and increased risk as the reason. While there does seem to be heavy skepticism that the DRIVE Act will not pass in the House or Senate, the trucking industry is caught in the middle, and ultimately needs to find a way to get better deals on insurance, whether they are going 45 mph or 75 mph.

Finding Better Trucking Insurance

For start-ups, small fleets, and owner-operators, getting even the basic insurance coverage can be a huge cost. At Single Point Capital, we help our clients get the insurance they need to get out of the starting gate, and to simply keep their drivers moving. We offer an insurance down payment assistance program for clients that use our factoring services. We will cover up to 50% of the insurance down payment and then spread out the remaining balance, which is repaid from a portion of the invoices that are factored through us. The insurance down payment program from Single Point Capital helps trucking businesses get the coverage they need so they can start hauling loads. Legislation on speed limiters still has to run its course, but trucking companies and owner-operators still need insurance that will not break the bank. To learn more about our affordable insurance programs, reach out to Single Point Capital today.