Truck accidents cause the most destruction on the roadways in the United States, and in study after study it has been confirmed that driver error is the leading cause of most crashes. Of all of the driver errors – which include things like driving while drunk, drowsy or distracted – speeding is the leading cause of truck accidents according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. Speeding involves not only exceeding the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for the current road conditions. Additionally, about 18 percent of drivers who caused a crash by speeding already had a prior speeding conviction on their driving records.
Since some truck drivers are clearly ignoring the posted speed limits and putting themselves and other drivers in danger, it looks like the government is ready to turn to technological solutions to make sure that large commercial trucks are simply unable to speed. In August of 2016, the DOT, FMCSA and the NHTSA proposed equipping heavy vehicles with devices that limit their speeds, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs every year.
This new proposal by the federal traffic safety agencies would establish safety standards that would require all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles, with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, to be equipped with speed limiting devices which would have a maximum speed limit set at either 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour. The exact speeds have not yet been established and the safety agencies are open to input from the public on the issue.
The motivation behind the proposal is saving lives, but limiting the speed on large trucks will also save fuel. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said, “It’s basic physics. Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”
The American Trucking Association (ATA), the biggest trucking industry trade group in the U.S., along with nine of the largest carriers are in support of the proposed regulation. “Speed is a factor in a third of all vehicle crashes and 23 percent of all truck crashes,” according to a spokesman for ATA, Sean McNally. ATA has actually urged the safety agencies to limit the speed of all vehicles including passenger vehicles to 65 miles per hour. In addition to trucking industry associations and trade groups, the Governors Highway Safety Association is also pushing for lower speed limits for all vehicles, according to Trucks.com.
Anyone who has survived a truck accident that occurred because the truck driver was speeding will understand the urgency of this proposal. As long as drivers are not making responsible choices behind the wheel and putting others in danger when they speed, solutions such as speed governors might be what it takes to save lives.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Oklahoma, you may have questions about your legal options. The experienced McAlester truck accident attorneys at the Stipe Law Firm are here to guide you through the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries. Call (918) 505-7741 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation with the Oklahoma truck accident lawyers you know and trust.