Debate about Speed Limiters
Commercial truck drivers are expected to comply with all trucking regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 as well as all traffic laws in the region in which they are driving. One law truck drivers should always obey is the posted speed limit for that particular road or highway. Truck drivers may often be in a hurry to make faster deliveries or get home to their families sooner, so they may be tempted to speed. Speeding is a very dangerous risk to take when driving a large tractor-trailer and it can result in serious harm to other motorists.
The Dangers of Speeding Trucks
Commercial vehicles are much larger than small passenger vehicles and are allowed to weigh up to 80,000 pounds when they are full of cargo. Not surprisingly, this means that trucks take much longer to slow down or stop than lighter vehicles. When a truck driver is speeding, they may not be able to slow down or stop in time if there is a road hazard or if traffic has come to a halt. In such situations, a collision is significantly more likely if a truck was speeding.
In addition, speeding trucks tend to be intimidating on the highways. They may not want to slow down, so drivers may end up getting too close to other cars (that are going the speed limit) or making dangerous lane changes. When a truck driver engages in such aggressive driving behaviors, serious harm can result.
Arguments For and Against Speed Limiters
One way federal regulators are aiming to prevent speeding by truck drivers is proposing to require that all commercial vehicles be equipped with a device called a speed limiters.2 Speed limiters have a maximum speed over which the truck cannot travel. Once the limiter is set, the truck driver may not exceed that speed even if they want to do so. Regulators assert that speed limiters will significantly reduce speeding among truck drivers and, therefore, will reduce the number of truck accidents, injuries, and deaths.
On the other hand, many truck drivers and some trucking industry representatives believe that requiring speed limiters on trucks will increase the risk of accidents and harm. They specifically state that the flow of traffic can change and it is important for a truck to keep up with the flow of traffic. If traffic increases its speed for some reason, a truck with a speed limiter would have to keep going slower than the surrounding vehicles, which can create a hazard. In addition, some emergency situation may require a truck driver to speed up and, if they cannot do so, they may be in danger of crashing.
Will Speed Limiters Actually Reduce Accidents?
Who will prevail in the debate regarding speed limiters remains to be seen. However, even if these devices are required on all trucks, the question remains: will they help to reduce harm? Some trucking companies already voluntarily install speed limiters on their trucks to try to limit liability in accidents. This also means that many truck drivers have already found a way around the limited speed.
The are devices on the market that render a speed limiter useless and that allow a truck driver to go as fast as they want. Even more troubling, these devices are not detectable and mask the true speed of the truck when it comes to the truck’s event data recorder3 (commonly called a “black box”). In the event of an accident, the black box will not register that the truck driver was speeding and overriding a speed limiter, so proving liability in the crash can be difficult. As long as truck drivers have access to these devices, truck accident victims may face a challenge.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in St. Petersburg as Soon as Possible
At the Dolman Law Group, our St. Petersburg truck accident attorneys understand how complicated truck accident cases can be. They become even more challenging when truck drivers and trucking companies work to hide and avoid liability whenever possible. You should know that our experienced team has the resources to expose negligence and hold negligent truck drivers and companies liable for your losses. Call our office at 727-222-6922 today for a free consultation to learn more.
DOLMAN LAW GROUP
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712