The American Trucking Association (ATA) believes that mandatory installation of speed limiters on large commercial trucks could save lives and prevent injuries in the United States. The mission of the ATA is to protect the safety of drivers on American roads, which is why the association has formally requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) require all 18-wheeler trucks to have speed limiters installed. These devices would ensure that truckers cannot speed beyond a reasonable limit. The speed limiters, which were first requested back in 2006, would mandate that 18-wheelers cannot surpass 68 miles per hour.
Speeding Remains a Major Cause of Truck Accidents in the United States
In its formal statement regarding the proposal for mandating speed limiters, the ATA stated that the federal government ignores the issue of speeding trucks—which is actually a major factor in highway accidents involving large commercial rigs in the United States.
According to the ATA’s statement, the federal government often focuses on other issues of trucker safety instead—such as eliminating the amount of fatigued drivers by mandating regular breaks and limited hours of operation, and ensuring that all equipment and maintenance is taken care of on the trucks.
However, the government does not frequently focus on the dangers of speeding with these large trucks. Yet speeding is a major cause for truck-related accidents every single year. In 2005 alone, there were 5,212 truck-related fatalities, and many of these involved excessive speeding as a major or contributory factor.
How Often Do Trucks Speed?
Researchers in 2008 published a study entitled the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. This survey found that more than 20% of all fatal truck accidents involved a truck driver who was either driving faster than the legal limit or who was driving too fast for weather conditions. Additionally, close to 18% of all truck drivers involved in fatal accidents that year showed at least one speeding conviction on their record. This means that, for 1 in 5 of all accidents involving a large commercial vehicle, speeding on the part of the truck driver played a major or contributory role. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) states that speeding is, in fact, the leading driver-error related cause of crashes involving trucks.
Are the Speed Limiters a Reasonable Idea?
Traffic safety advocates say that the 68 mile per hour limit is reasonable, and that no 18-wheeler would have need to travel above this speed. For this reason, advocates state that truckers should not be permitted to drive over this limit on any American highway.
If the speed limiters are enacted, the ATA also wants the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to mandate that companies could not adjust the speed limiters under any circumstances. If the limiters could not be tampered with or manipulated, this would go a long way toward helping to curb speeding trucks on the road—thereby preventing accidents.
What Is the American Trucking Association?
The ATA is an association that is made up of a variety of trucking lines and associations, and often partakes in conferences and organizations. It technically represents about 3,700 motor carrier members. The ATA has a lot of responsibilities, but one of the association’s main concerns has to do with helping truckers to enhance safety within their profession.
Would There Be Penalties for Tampering with Speed Limiters?
The ATA did not make it clear what penalties would be imposed on those who tampered with speed limiters, or how the laws would be enforced. The FMCSA would need to hire professional enforcement officers who could inspect speed limiters and confirm whether or not commercial motor vehicle companies are guilty of tampering with the devices.
What to Do if You Were Hurt in an Accident With a Speeding Truck
If you have been harmed because of a truck accident, then you have the right to seek compensation. With an experienced attorney on your side, you may be able to prove that you have been wronged in an accident and that negligence caused the crash. You can then evidence that your accident could have been prevented had the trucking line been more cautious, and eventually sue that trucking company for your pains. Don't hesitate to hire a lawyer who can help you fight for the justice you deserve after a truck accident. Arnold & Itkin LLP is a firm with experienced nationwide truck accident attorneys who are here to help you with your case.
Call our office today—we would be happy to provide you with a consultation free of charge.