WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday issued a proposed rule that would require trucks and buses to be equipped with devices that would limit their speed, a move it said could save both lives and fuel.
The agency said it will weigh setting speed limits at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour for heavy commercial vehicles, but will consider other speeds based on comments from the public. Speed limits on interstate highways vary across the United States, with some states allowing vehicles to drive as fast as 85 miles (137 km) per hour, though many states have lower maximum speeds for trucks.
"There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment."
Under the long-delayed proposal, all new U.S. trucks and buses weighing more than 26,000 pounds (11,793 kg) would need to be equipped with a speed-limiting device.
The department said the maximum allowable speed would be decided after the agency receives public input. Publication of the proposal kicks off a 60-day comment period.
It said both vehicle manufacturers and the companies that purchase and operate the vehicles would be subject to the rule.
Representatives of truck makers and large truck fleets contacted Friday did not comment or said they were still studying the proposal.
(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann and Joseph White; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Phil Berlowitz)