Federal regulators have recently proposed new legislation that would require large commercial vehicles to be fitted with devices that limit their speed. Commercial truck accidents often have devastating consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), such devices could save lives and significant money, to the tune of about $1 billion in fuel costs annually. Safety advocates are thrilled with the proposal, but not everyone is on board.
The notice of the proposal, issued jointly by the NHTSA and FMCSA, includes several key points. Among them are:
- The speed-limiting devices would be required for commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds.
- The ‘speed limiters’ must be set to a specified speed, but they must also include diagnostic equipment that shows the current speed, previous settings, and the dates on which the settings were changed.
- Speed limiters must remain installed for the entire service life of the vehicle.
- The designated speed limit maximums are still under consideration. Officials are currently considering 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour.
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This means that they take more time to come to a complete stop, are difficult to maneuver, and can be especially deadly in a collision involving a passenger vehicle. The risk of accidents, and the damage produced by those accidents, is significantly greater than that of passenger vehicles. Contact a Boston Trucking Accident Lawyer Today.
What’s the Safest Speed Limit for a Large Truck?
Studies have shown that keeping the speed limit at or under 68 mph could save up to 96 lives annually, at or under 65 mph could save up to 214 lives annually, and at or under 60 mph could save up to 498 lives annually. Although this may sound like a no-brainer to some, many trucking companies and organizations vehemently oppose the limiters, claiming they could actually become dangerous in certain situations. For example, if a truck driver has to accelerate to avoid a hazard but cannot because of the speed limiter, it could result in disastrous consequences. Such organizations argue that training is the answer, not technology. While this may be true, the reality is that many Massachusetts truck drivers do not receive adequate training. And human error is always a concern, even for the safest drivers on the road. Continue reading