National Highway Transportation Safety Administration proposes requiring stability control systems on new heavy trucks; OOIDA expresses concern over increased costs

GRAIN VALLEY, Missouri , December 19, 2011 (press release) – The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration teed up a proposal that could mandate stability control systems on new heavy trucks.

The agency sent the notice of proposed rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 13. The notice does not contain any additional public detail on the proposal.

This is not a new issue for the agency.

In 2007, the agency mandated electronic stability controls for new passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses weighing 10,000 pounds or less. The full compliance deadline for all new vehicles to be equipped with the systems was Sept. 1.

The latest attempt to add yet another system to the list of new vehicle mandates gives the OOIDA leadership pause for concern.

“Stability control technology certainly works. Like all other viable safety technology, it will increase the cost of a new truck,” said OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz.

“Considering all of the various technology mandates on trucks in the pipeline right now, we’re concerned the unintended consequence will be new truck prices that discourage a truck owner from replacing ‘old iron.’”

New truck prices have increased upwards of $40,000 since the first round of emission-related mandates went into effect in October 2002. That number is likely to increase even more as the new fuel economy standards, and subsequent equipment mandates, begin going into effect.

“It just boggles the mind how agencies are willing to overlook less costly, economically feasible, commonsense regulations – such as mandatory entry level driver training – and instead insist on trying to automate good driving through the use of technology,” Rajkovacz said.

“These continued efforts to mandate more and more technology under the guise of safety and environmental protections are going to crush small-business truckers.”

The new fuel economy mandate and its potential impact has drawn a fair amount of criticism and concern – so much so that Congress held a hearing.

In October, the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the fuel economy standards.

OOIDA Member Scott Grenerth, a proclaimed environmentalist and small-business owner-operator, testified in opposition to the joint issued Environmental Protection Agency and NHTSA regulations, telling the committee that small-business truckers were shut out of the process in arriving at the final mandate.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.