It’s common knowledge that fatigued driving plays a major role in the incident rate of accidents involving tractor trailers. But far more often, speed is a primary factor. That’s why two agencies of the US Department of Transportation – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – have proposed mandated speed limiters on all newly manufactured big rigs and buses.
If passed as law, the proposal would require all newly manufactured trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be outfitted with speed limiting devices. Though the agencies are accepting public input on recommended speeds for each, the proposal specifically discusses benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour.
“This is basic physics,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “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.”
According to the FMCSA, between 2013 and 2014:
- The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decreased by 5 percent, from 3,921 to 3,744, and the large truck involvement rate (large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) declined by 6 percent, from 1.43 to 1.34.
- However, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 21 percent, from 73,000 to 88,000, and the large truck involvement rate in injury crashes increased by 21 percent.
- The number of large trucks involved in property damage-only crashes increased by 31 percent, from 265,000 to 346,000, and the large truck involvement rate in property damage-only crashes increased by 29 percent.
- The number of buses involved in fatal crashes decreased from 282 to 234, a decrease of 17 percent, and the bus involvement rate in fatal crashes decreased by 21 percent.
Despite the improvements in large truck and bus-involved fatal crash rates, we here at Harrell and Harrell believe that even one life lost is one too many. If you have insight to share on the issue, let federal officials know by visiting the Federal Register’s website and submitting your input before November 7. Meanwhile if you or someone you love suffers injury or loss in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, call 800-251-1111 and speak with a dedicated truck accident attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.