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Federal Regulators Look to Limit Commercial Truck Speeds

truck-1499377_1280-Pixabay-240x161.jpgThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have identified the speed of large commercial trucks and buses as a large contributor to fatal truck-involved crashes in the U.S. The size and weight of these large vehicles make it much more difficult for them to stop. The stopping distances for commercial trucks and buses are much higher than are those for smaller vehicles, and the stopping distances increase even further when the vehicles are traveling at faster speeds. In order to try to reduce the average 1,115 deaths that are caused by large trucks each year, the two agencies have proposed the mandatory installation of speed limiting devices on large trucks and buses. A trucking accident attorney often represents clients injured by trucks driving too fast or carrying too much weight.

The Proposal

The FMCSA and the NHTSA announced the speed-limiting proposal on Aug. 26. The agencies are considering using electronic devices to cap the maximum speeds for commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour. The devices, called speed limiters, would prevent the drivers from exceeding the capped speed. The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed regulation. At that time, the agencies will decide whether the regulation will go into effect and what speed the trucks would be capped at.

Arguments For and Against

The government believes that mandating the installation of speed limiting devices on trucks could save hundreds of lives each year. If the speeds were limited to 60 miles per hour, the government estimates that 498 wrongful deaths could be prevented. At 65 miles per hour, the agencies estimate that 214 people would be saved. If the speed was limited to 68 miles per hour, the NHTSA and the FMCSA estimate that 96 lives would be saved.

A spokesperson for the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association believes that rather than saving lives, limiting the speeds of commercial vehicles could actually increase the number of fatalities. According to her, lower speeds for large trucks could cause more problematic interactions between the commercial trucks and other vehicles that are forced to suddenly slow when encountering the trucks.

When a person is injured or killed in a truck accident, a trucking accident attorney will analyze the facts to determine what happened. The industry is strictly regulated to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that would otherwise happen.

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