New Rule To Require Speed Limiters in Commercial Vehicles

Tractor-tailer on highway

Collisions Will Be Fewer, Less Severe

The size and weight of a tractor-trailer dramatically increases injuries to occupants of a smaller, lighter vehicle during an auto collision. Add speed to that equation and, not only is there an even great chance of an accident, but the injuries are more severe when an accident occurs. 

Unfortunately, simply demanding truckers slow down does not always work. A driver may be anxious to finish the workday or may feel pressure from her or his employer to get a load to its destination as quickly as possible. A traffic ticket is often considered the cost of doing business. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed a new rule that would lighten the lead in truckers’ feet. The DOT rule would mandate that speed limiters be installed in certain heavy trucks. The rule has reached the White House, where the Office of Management and Budget is expected to stamp its approval. The rule will then be published in the Federal Register and open for 60 days of public comment. The speed limiter rule should clear the OMB by August and will likely become effective in two more years. Clearly, the government goes nowhere fast.

What is a Speed Limiter?

A speed limiter does exactly what its name implies, limits the speed of the vehicle. The technology is already installed on most trucks. So, compliance with the new rule will be relatively low-cost and simple for trucking corporations. It is literally as easy as flipping a switch. The governor, or electronic control module, controls the vehicle’s operations and performance, including the speed, brakes, throttle, engine RPM and cruise control. Fleet owners can set the governor to a maximum speed. When a truck reaches that speed, the computer system restricts combustion, air flow and fuel to the engine so the vehicle cannot accelerate any further. 

Slower Trucks = Safer Highways

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 11 percent of all automobile accident fatalities involved a large truck in 2013. That year, 3,602 people died in large truck accidents. Of those fatalities, 67 percent were occupants in other vehicles and 15 percent were motorcyclist, bicyclists and pedestrians. 

The faster a truck travels, the longer it takes to stop. In fact, a loaded semi takes 20 to 40 percent farther than a car to stop upon application of the brakes. The stopping range increases when a tractor-trailer is on a wet road or has poorly maintained brakes or if the driver is speeding or tired.

Slowing the truck down can help drivers avoid collisions and save lives.

Berenson Injury Law Helps Victims of Tractor-Trailer Accidents

If you have been injured by a tractor-trailer, contact us at 817-885-0000 or 1-800-801-8585 for a free case evaluation at our Dallas-Fort Worth office.

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