In 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation reports that there were 133 fatal collisions involving trucks in the state of Texas and another 389 crashes statewide that involved a truck and trailer. The Texas DOT reported that a total of 295 people killed in collisions involving speeding drivers. Some of those speeding drivers were operating commercial motor vehicles when a collision occurred.
When a truck driver goes too fast, the chances of a serious accident are significantly increased. A personal injury lawyer in Fort Worth can be consulted to help those who are injured in collisions with tractor-trailers. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has also proposed a new rule that could significantly reduce the risk of a trucker causing a collision by speeding.
New Speed Limiting Rule Could Save Lives
According to Auto Blog, the federal Department of Transportation is proposing that big rigs weighing more than 26,000 pounds be required to install speed governors or speed limiters. The DOT did not specify the upper limit that the trucks would be allowed to travel when the speed limiter was installed. However, the American Trucking Association has suggested that trucks have a maximum speed limit set at 68 miles per hour.
The proposed rule was published in March 2014 and will likely not take effect for a long time, if ever. The rule first needs to be approved by the Secretary of Transportation and then it will need to be cleared by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Only then can the proposed rule be opened up for 60 days of public comment. After this time, the rule could go into effect, but the new requirement would not be imposed for 30 days.
The DOT has suggested that limiters be installed on semi-trucks for multiple reasons. One issue is that forcing lower speeds could improve fuel efficiency. This is one of the driving forces for why the American Trucking Association came out in favor of speed limiters. Other countries that have already put limiters into place, illustrating that capping truck speed is effective in obtaining this important goal.
A more important reason for limiting the speed, however, is that putting a speed-limiting devices on big rigs will save lives. When a driver is forced to drive below a set limit, he cannot go faster and thus increase the risk of losing control of the vehicle. A truck that has a restricted speed will also have a shorter stopping distance, which means it is less likely the vehicle will hit the car in front of it or will strike an object that is in its path. The faster a truck is going, the more momentum the vehicle has and the longer it takes for the car to stop moving.
While these are important benefits, not everyone is a supporter of the DOT’s new proposal. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association has spoken out against the new rule and argues that velocity is not the biggest risk of accidents but instead it is the speed differential that is important. The OOIDA believes that traffic should be allowed to travel at relatively equal rates and that limiting the speed of semi-trailers would make passing too difficult.
Until a decision is made, drivers of commercial trucks will simply need to make the smart choice on their own to drive at a speed that is safe under the circumstances.
If you or a loved one has been injured contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. at 800-994-1966.