If you spend much time on the highway, you know that nothing is quite as frightening as a semi-trailer barreling along at 80 mph. The federal government has long tried to require speed limiters on large trucks that would hold their speeds to a set level — probably 68 mph or lower. Yet no rule or regulation has been put in place to affect that change.
With a new administration in Washington, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) believes now may be the time. In partnership with Road Safe America, the ATA is advocating for a federal regulation to require speed limiter devices on all vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds. In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of such a rule, the ATA also suggested mandating speed limits of 60 m.p.h., 65 m.p.h. or 68 m.p.h. for vehicles with speed limiters.
Truck Owner-Operators Object
But the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) was less enthusiastic, sending its own letter to Secretary Buttegieg, arguing that speed limiters on trucks would increase congestion and speed differentials between trucks and cars, which ultimately lead to more crashes. Additionally, they wrote, arbitrary speed limits make it difficult for truck drivers to switch lanes to accommodate merging traffic. The group also said that speed limiters would give larger carriers an unfair advantage over smaller fleets and owner-operators.
State Legislatures Keep Increasing Speed Limits
How this turns out is anyone’s guess, but there is one thing for sure: State legislatures around the country have set higher and higher speed limits. While this enables truckers to transport their goods more quickly, large trucks have longer stopping distances than other vehicles, making it more difficult for them to avoid a crash. And, when a crash does occur, speed and vehicle weight determine the severity of the collision.
If a truck accident occurs and you need a lawyer, turn to Smith LaCien LLP, a firm which concentrates in catastrophic injury, wrong death and medical malpractice. The firm has a lengthy track record of achieving exceptional results for clients, with more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements, and over 100 cases with results of at least $1 million. If you believe you have a case, contact us at [email protected] or 312-509-8900.