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Proposed Federal Rule Would Limit Commercial Vehicles’ Speeds to Under 70 Mph

The two federal bodies tasked with rulemaking for commercial vehicles have published rules that would require large commercial vehicles to have a set maximum speed. Both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have proposed rules which would require vehicles such as buses, large trucks, and tractor-trailers weighing over 26,000 lbs. to come equipped with mechanical limiters which would cap their speed at 60, 65, or 68 mph, depending on the final version of the rule released.

Large trucks are involved in about 10% of all fatal traffic accidents in the US, and about 40% of all large truck accidents occur at speeds between 60 and 75 miles per hour. Since these trucks can weigh over 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded with cargo, they are hard to bring to a stop, and they become even harder to stop the faster they go. Federal regulators hope to address highway safety, as well as fuel consumption, with the requirement that large trucks use speed limiters.

Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the NHTSA, said speed limiters were “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 Department of Transportation’s analysis shows that, were large vehicle speeds limited to 60 mph, up to 498 deaths and 10,500 injuries could be prevented each year.

Since numerous commercial transportation and shipping companies have been using speed limiters on their trucks for years, the Department of Transportation has had the opportunity to measure the device’s ability to prevent accidents. According to their research, speed-limited trucks have a crash rate of 11 out of every 100 trucks. In contrast, trucks without speed limiters have a crash rate of 16.4 out of every 100 trucks. Specifically, speed-related crashes drop significantly in trucks using limiters. While 5 out of every 100 trucks without limiters is involved in a speed-related crash, only 1.4 in every 100 speed-limited trucks is involved in a speed-related crash.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash with a large truck, tractor-trailer, or bus, seek the money you need for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage by contacting the skilled and compassionate Louisville truck accident lawyers at the Slechter Law Firm.