Federal regulators are considering a new rule that would require certain large commercial trucks to install speed limiters.
As soon as October of this year, commercial trucks in the U.S. that weigh at least 26,000 pounds and travel on highways with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or higher may be required to use speed limiters. These devices, also known as electronic control modules, operate by communicating with a vehicle's computer. Once a vehicle reaches a pre-set speed limit, the computer then cuts back the amount of air and fuel in the engine. The U.S. Department of Transportation believes that requiring the use of these devices could play a key role in preventing truck accidents.
Since 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been examining whether to mandate the use of speed limiters on large trucks. In previous years, trucking industry groups, such as the American Trucking Associations, petitioned federal regulators to develop a rule regarding the use of these devices. Many large trucking companies have already installed electronic speed limiters on vehicles in their interstate fleets.
Statistics from the NHTSA show that, per 100 million miles driven, large trucks are generally involved in fewer accidents than passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, however, when large trucks are involved in accidents, the results are generally far more serious, if not deadly. It is clear that speed plays a role in contributing to the occurrence of accidents: large trucks are simply heavier than passenger vehicles, which means that it takes them much longer to stop, particularly at highway speeds.
Of course, not everyone believes that requiring the installation of speed limiters is a good idea. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, for example, has criticized the plan, citing studies demonstrating that accidents are commonly caused by differences in vehicle speed - that is, one vehicle traveling at a lower speed than others on the same stretch of highway. Limiting truck speed may seem at first glance to be a step in the right direction, but OOIDA believes that these devices could cause more problems than they prevent.
While it is clear that the U.S. DOT is seriously considering the use of speed limiters, the final decision on the rule is yet to come. Given the agency's focus on safety in recent years, a rule requiring the use of these devices seems likely.
Truck accidents can cause devastating, life changing injuries. If you have been injured in a truck accident, consider speaking to a personal injury attorney. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a right to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and more. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney today.
Keywords: Truck accidents