The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced plans to consider limiting the speed of heavy commercial trucks to 68 mph. If adopted, the new rule will require trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds to install speed-regulating engine controls called electronic control modules (ECMs).
A study being conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the safety and economic impact of truck speed limiters will be reviewed before a change is finalized. If approved, a rule limiting truck speeds will join other proposed regulatory initiatives.
Other Safety Measures Studied
In 2000, large truck accidents were linked to 5,211 fatalities and 140,000 injuries. Committed to reducing this toll, the FMCSA is exploring a number of potential safety measures.
In a report to Congress in 2011, the FMCSA indicated research support for the use of event data recorders (EDRs) to reduce crash risks. Once installed, EDRs gather vehicle data including speed, braking and throttle position during truck operation. Analysis of this data helps pinpoint problems and improve driving behavior, thus reducing the risk of a crash.
Proposed Speed Change Draws Mixed Reactions
The latest speed control proposal has drawn mixed support from the trucking industry. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) argued in 2006 that lower truck speeds would reduce the crash severity, cut fuel use, improve highway safety and the environment.
However, smaller truckers, represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) oppose the rule, arguing that limiting speed would inhibit safe travel. “All credible highway research shows that highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same speed,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA in the Journal of Commerce.
An Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a large commercial truck, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.