In 2012, there were 7,442 collisions involving large trucks in the state of Kentucky. According to the state traffic crash facts, 70 of the collisions were fatal and 76 people were killed. Another 1,189 truck crashes caused injuries to 1,732 motorists. A total of 44 of the accidents involved a driver exceeding the speed limit and another 216 truck accidents happened because the driver was going too fast for road conditions. Crashes in which the trucker exceeded the stated speed limit were also responsible for 4.29 percent of all fatal crashes in the state.
Truck drivers must obey the speed limit, but unfortunately not all commercial drivers do. An auto accident lawyer in Louisville should be consulted if a trucker fails to obey the driving rules and causes a collision.
The Department of Transportation has proposed a rule that would eliminate the problem of truckers not following speed limits. The rule will need to be approved by the Secretary of Transportation before going to the Office of Management and Budget and then being opened for 60 days of public commentary. It is a long way away, but could ultimately help to reduce the dangers associated with high speed truck crashes.
DOT Aims to Prevent Truck Crashes Due to Speeding
According to Auto Blog, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing that all big rigs with a vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or more be equipped with a speed governor/ limiter that does not allow the vehicle to exceed a certain speed.
The DOT proposed this rule in its March 2014 report and had several different justifications for the suggestion. It is believed that imposing the new maximum limits on tractor-trailer speed would reduce the number of truck accidents that occur. It could also improve the fuel efficiency rating of large trucks.
A truck that is going too quickly is not as easy for the driver to control, and the risk of a rollover crash is increased by speeding. Trucks that drive fast also have more momentum, which means that there is a longer stopping distance and the vehicle is much more likely to crash into another car or obstacle in its path. If the truck is unable to exceed a set speed limit, these risks will be eliminated.
The DOT did not suggest a specific maximum speed limit. However, the American Trucking Association has previously suggested that large trucks have a speed limiter setting a maximum speed of 68 miles per hour. Many trucking companies have also installed speed limiters in their vehicles already.
There are, however, some opponents of the DOT’s suggestion. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has cautioned that setting the maximum speed limit the same for all big rigs could create problems with trucks passing. Further, the OOIDA says that it is not excess speed that is most dangerous for trucks but instead variation in speed velocity is a risk.
With both pros and cons of the DOT’s suggestion, it is unclear if it will ever become a final rule. Until it does, truckers need to make the smart choice to stay at or below the speed limit in order to reduce the risk of injuring themselves or others.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, car accident lawyers in Louisville can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 for a free case consultation.