Proposed New Rule Should Be Implemented
You have probably experienced that terrifying moment when a tractor-trailer is barreling down on you at high speed. If you needed to apply the brakes in anticipation of a road obstacle or slowed traffic or the truck driver misjudged your speed, he couldn’t possibly slow down in time to avoid crashing into you.
Truckers need substantially more time than other motorists to stop because of the larger size and heavier weight of the vehicle. The faster the truck is travelling, the greater time needed to slow down or stop.
A three axle single unit tractor (GVWR more than 10,000 pounds) and trailer travelling just at 60 miles per hour with average brakes needs up to 404 feet to come to a stop, compared to 246 feet for a standard size automobile. Of course, slick roads require even more braking time.
To force truckers to slow down, the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a rule that requires big-rigs to install speed limiters that limit the trucks’ speed to 68 mph.
It’s about time.
Many consumer advocacy and roadway safety groups are encouraging use of speed limiters that prevent tractor-trailers from driving too fast. And the FMCSA and NHTSA have concluded that speed limiters work.
The trucking industry, as you might imagine, is not happy about it. Drivers claim the speed limiters “create dangerous speed differentials” between cars and 18-wheelers which would create logjams of tractor-trailers that block cars from passing. Really?
An article posted on Ask the Trucker put out a call to drivers to educate about the dangers caused by this device. The author cites a study that found no significant statistical relationship between the speed limiter and reduced traffic crashes and says, “There is no sound science indicating they make highways any safer.”
Speeding is the leading cause of trucking crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports in its newly released Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014 that “speeding of any kind was the most frequent drive-related factor.” Driver distraction/ inattention was the second most common reason. Combine these two reckless behaviors and a crash is inevitable.
Berenson Injury Law has been representing victims of tractor-trailer crashes for the past 35 years. Speed was a factor in practically every case. We are working up on a new case where a speeding 18 wheeler rear ended my client’s vehicle after traffic was slowing on Interstate 45, seriously injuring her and tragically killing her boyfriend.
Truckers are under tremendous pressure by their employers and clients to make deliveries on time and picking up the speed is often the only way to make unrealistic delivery schedules. With the speed limiter device, truckers simply cannot speed and will have to instead adjust their schedules appropriately.
The roads will be safer for all of us if speed limiters are required. Support this new regulation by contacting NTHSA our your local congressman or woman.