El Paso Attorney Weighs in on the Push for Truck Speed Limiters
It’s bad enough that speeding among passenger-vehicle drivers causes devastating traffic accidents in El Paso. With large commercial trucks, there is a major contrast in size and weight.
Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds with fully-loaded trailers. Trucks with twin-tandem trailers can weigh up to 34,000 pounds.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at 65 mph, it would take the average commercial truck the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop on a clear, dry road. Stopping distance can increase with heavier cargo loads or on wet roads.
Imagine what happens when traffic on the highway comes to a complete halt. That’s only one of the many hazards passenger-vehicle drivers face around large trucks.
Safety technology exists, but use not required
The good news is, technology that has the potential to mitigate the risk of rear-end collisions already exists. They’re called speed limiters and are designed to prevent trucks from exceeding 65 mph by using sensors that interact with an on-board computer system. The bad news is, many trucking companies have been reluctant to implement them in their fleets.
According to Freight Waves, a coalition of traffic safety advocates, led by Road Safe America and the Truck Safety Coalition, are urging lawmakers to require trucking companies to enact speed limiter requirements on all vehicles.
Speed limiters already come standard in most fleets but unlike Australia, Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom, they are not required to be turned on in the United States.
Most notably, the group cites a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (NHTSA) that found that truckers not using speed limiters increase their chances of a highway-speed crash by 200 percent in contrast to trucks with active speed limiters.
Previous efforts to convince the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to pass safety legislation have fallen to the wayside. The coalition is hopeful, however, that the new Congress and Trump administration will consider their proposal.
The coalition has garnered some support within the trucking industry, particularly from The Trucking Alliance.
Other organizations, such as the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), support the use of speed limiters in conjunction with accountability for both truck drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers.
“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA president.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries caused by a speeding truck driver, you deserve to have your rights upheld. Get an experienced El Paso truck accident attorney on your side. Contact Michael J. Gopin, PLLC today.