Government Plan to Slow Down Semi Trucks
Federal officials might finally be moving forward with a plan years in the making. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently filed a notice of intent to proceed with rulemaking that would require speed limiters to be placed on semi-trucks.
New rules could force trucks to abide by a top allowable speed of 70 miles per hour so long as they’re equipped with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control devices.
Depending on who you ask, adopting a top speed for semi-trucks could be a blessing or a curse. Even among trucking industry insiders, the proposed rule has supporters and detractors. Some believe the measure will be ineffective. Others believe it could actually increase the risk of truck accidents.
Supporters maintain a long-held belief that speed limiters will prevent a serious form of negligent driving that has contributed to several major incidents over the years.
Speed is a tricky issue when it comes to vehicle safety. There is clearly an upper limit above which any vehicle is unsafe on the road. Below that, speed is a more nuanced issue. Many accidents result from differences in the relative speed of vehicles. A group of cars moving at 65 miles per hour is safer than many cars going 55 and one car going 20 mph.
The issue is further complicated by the sheer size of 18-wheelers. Big trucks can’t match smaller cars when it comes to stopping power. If a truck going 80 miles per hour unexpectedly encounters a traffic jam, the results can be catastrophic.
One trucking industry group, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, suggested that the rule should not be adopted because most truck crashes happen at speeds under 55 mph.
One group that would certainly welcome the adoption of speed-limiting technology is the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB included the item on its 2021-2022 most wanted list of transportation safety improvements. It recommends the use of speed-limiting tech on all heavy vehicles, including semi-trucks and buses.
Speed is an ever-present temptation for truck drivers, even more than ordinary passenger vehicle drivers. Most truck drivers are paid by the mile rather than by the hour. With mandated breaks and unpredictable loading and unloading schedules, drivers can be sorely tempted to exceed the speed limit in order to protect their livelihood. Speed-limiting devices would greatly hinder that temptation.
Negligence on the part of a truck driver or trucking company can have terrible consequences. If you have been injured in a truck accident, call Ted B. Lyon & Associates at 866-503-4864 or send us a message.
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