In an effort to stem the tide of traffic fatalities involving large vehicles, federal regulatory agencies are proposing mandatory installation of speed limiting devices on all heavy trucks and other vehicles weighing at least 26,000 pounds.
The concept, currently being championed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, would electronically cap the speeds at which newly manufactured vehicles within this weight category would be able to travel.
Specifics of proposal
According to the proposed regulation, new vehicles falling under the rule would be fitted with an electronic device which would limit drivers to speeds of 60, 64, or 68 miles per hour, depending on the final adopted version. It is important to note, however, that due to excessive retrofitting costs, the devices would not be required for older vehicles in the same weight classification, though this remains a subject of heated debate. It is thought that implementation of such a rule would play a significant role in reducing the rate of fatal accidents involving trucks and buses of this type each year, a number which currently stands at 1,115.
Agency representatives have stated that restricting heavy truck speeds to 60 miles per hour could save upwards of 498 lives per year, restricting them to 65 miles per hour could prevent 214 fatalities and a limit of 68 could prevent approximately 96 deaths. Further, it is believed that the reduction in speeds would produce fuel cost savings of approximately $1 billion annually.
Controversey over speed limiting devices
The concept of speed limiting devices in heavy trucks is not new, having first been introduced by advocacy group Roadsafe America in 2006. Eventually, the American Trucking Associations got on board, lending additional support to the push for lower speeds. Not everyone in the transportation industry is enthusiastic about the prospect, however, with a large number of professional truck drivers weighing in on what they view as unacceptable risks stemming from the mandatory limitations.
Over-the-road professionals emphasize the fact that if their trucks were limited to 68 miles per hour or under, they would be moving considerably slower than most other vehicles on the road. This, it is asserted, represents a potentially dangerous scenario which could actually result in increased accident rates. As argued by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the speed disparities would likely create unnecessary interactions between cars and trucks, potentially boosting the chances of a collision.
Legal help for truck accident victims
According to data published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2014 saw roughly 3,660 individual deaths in crashes involving trucks of one description or another. Most such fatalities were suffered by those traveling in traditional passenger cars. Another 88,000 individuals were injured in events of this type, underscoring the very real dangers trucks, buses and other large vehicles present. Given the immutable laws of physics and the massive weight and size disparities between trucks and traditional cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, it is not surprising that the injuries sustained in such events can indeed be catastrophic.
The truck accident attorneys of Eisbrouch Marsh have dedicated their careers to helping injury victims in New York and New Jersey pursue financial compensation in the aftermath of car, truck and other accidents stemming from the negligence of others. We stand ready to seek maximum monetary recovery, which can often include payment for medical bills, lost wages, therapy costs and more.
To learn more about how we can assist your family following an accident, contact us at 201-342-5545.
- The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Proposes Device to Force Trucks, Buses to Travel at Lower Speeds, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-proposes-device-to-force-trucks-buses-to-travel-at-lower-speeds-1472246714
- Chicago Tribune, U.S. Wants to force lower highway speeds on truck and bus drivers, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-proposes-device-to-force-trucks-buses-to-travel-at-lower-speeds-1472246714
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Facts – Large Trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks