Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced their joint proposal to mandate speed limiters in large commercial vehicles, more than 5,000 people have taken advantage of the comment period. The purpose of the mandate is to potentially reduce the number of truck accidents that cause serious and fatal injuries. While the idea is appealing to some, many truckers in Texas and across the country are opposed to the plan.
The rule will require new trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds to be equipped with technology to limit the vehicles’ speeds. The agencies solicited comments to help them determine whether that speed limit should be 60, 65 or 68 mph. Since the number of fatalities involving commercial vehicles seems to be increasing, the hope is that slower speeds will reduce the number and severity of such crashes.
Most of the comments expressing opposition on the NHTSA website are from truck drivers or owners of trucking companies. From their experiences on the road, some truckers say the speed limiters may create even more hazards on the highways. Speed limiting technology does not take into consideration towns or work zones where posted speeds are often lower than a truck’s limit. Some feel that truckers will be more tempted to drive at the maximum speed, even through areas where limits are lowered for safety reasons.
Trucks traveling at slower speeds may also provoke drivers of smaller vehicles to take dangerous chances to get around them. Some truckers report cars passing them on the right or left shoulders when they are moving too slowly. This happens when trucks are forced to travel side by side as one attempts to pass the other hindered by the speed limiter.
Even if the mandate for speed limiters is enacted, the technology will only go so far in preventing truck accidents. A big rig traveling at a limited speed can still do serious damage if the driver is distracted, fatigued or impaired. When this occurs, people in Texas can be confident that their right to seek compensation can be strongly defended by an experienced attorney.
Source: landlinemag.com, “SPEED LIMITERS: Opponents of mandate cite safety concerns of differential speeds”, Greg Grisolano, Nov. 7, 2016