Report: Speed limiting tech proposed as safety measure for large trucks

To help improve traffic safety, the NHTSA and FMCSA have proposed making speed limiting devices mandatory equipment for large trucks and buses.

In 2016, there were 7,519 motor vehicle collisions involving speeding across Tennessee, according to the state's Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Due to the force of such crashes, some vehicles may not stand up, resulting in serious injuries or deaths for the drivers or their passengers. This is especially true when speed-related accidents involve large commercial trucks and smaller, passenger vehicles. In an effort to cut down on trucking crashes that involve speeding, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have proposed making speed limiting devices mandatory equipment for heavy-duty vehicles.

The dangers of speeding

In any vehicle, speeding is a reckless action. Combined with large commercial vehicles, however, it becomes even more dangerous. At high rates of speed, truckers may not have the time necessary to react to objects, other hazards or changes in the traffic conditions. Consequently, they may lose control of their vehicles. Further, it may take longer for tractor-trailers to stop or slow than it takes for smaller automobiles due to their weight and size. Thus, a large truck that is traveling in excess of the posted speed limit may not be able to safely maneuver their vehicles should they be forced to slow or stop suddenly, potentially resulting in a serious trucking collision.

Updated safety standard proposal

Under a recently proposed rule by the NHTSA and FMCSA, some large commercial vehicles may be required to be equipped with speed limiting devices. The rule, currently up for public discussion, would apply to all new tractor-trailers and busses weighing over 26,000 pounds. These devices are governors used to limit the top speeds that vehicles are able to travel. The proposal does not yet set a maximum speed, but it reviews the impact of setting it at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

The proposal is being touted as a safety, environmental and energy conservation win. The belief is that setting a speed limit, will help save lives by reducing the force of collision impacts involving large vehicles. Additionally, representatives with the agencies suggest that limiting the speeds of tractor-trailers could save over $1 billion in fuel costs annually.

Seeking legal guidance

As a result of trucking accidents, people in Tennessee may suffer serious injuries. Often, they require extensive medical treatment and time off work to recover, which may lead to unexpected medical costs and lost wages. In some situations, the truckers or trucking companies may be held liable for these and other resulting damages. Thus, people who have been injured in collision with commercial trucks may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights and help them understand their options.