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Because 18-wheelers are so large and heavy, it is imperative that truckers operate their vehicles with the utmost care and attention to others' safety. Many drivers believe that speeding isn't serious crime. While legal penalties for driving over the posted speed limit may not seem serious compared to penalties for drunk driving, the physical repercussions may be the same. The truth is that studies have shown that speeding over the legal limit while behind the wheel of a large vehicle could result in injuries or death.
What Is Speeding?
For most individuals, this may be an obvious question with an even more obvious answer: "driving faster than the posted speed limit." The truth, however, is that speeding can also refer to driving too fast for current conditions. For example, on some highways, there is a 65 mph speed limit, which may be perfectly safe; however, during heavy rain storms, it may be only safe to drive at 45 mph or slower.
There are few things that are as dangerous as a driver who is speeding. In fact, per the NHTSA, one out of three fatal accidents involve speed as a contributing factor. This has led to speed being named at the third leading contributing factor to crashes in the nation. Part of what make speeding so dangerous is the fact that it is a habitual driving behavior—and while most people will state that they view speeding as a threat to their safety, they are also likely to admit that they themselves speed.
Unfortunately, speeding is dangerous and does cause significant collisions. For example, it is believed that speeding leads to more than 13,000 fatalities per year and is a factor in almost 30% of all fatal accidents that occur in a construction or maintenance zone.
While speeding is a dangerous behavior for drivers of even the smallest vehicles, the hazards are only aggravated when they involve a large truck. Without a special permit, tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. With this kind of weight propelling a vehicle, drivers must be extremely careful to operate their trucks and trailers safely. 18-wheelers take longer to slow down and stop than regular vehicles. If a truck driver speeds, he/she may have difficulty slowing down suddenly.
For instance, if a car swerves in front of speeding 18-wheeler, the driver could easily cause an accident.
When it comes to speeding, the statistics are frightening. In fact, recent data from DOT shows the most common driver-related factor in truck accidents is speed.Learn More
In August 2016, the American Trucking Association's decade-long effort to make speed limiters mandatory nearly came to fruition. The Department of Transportation started the process to make speed limiters a part of every 18-wheeler in the nation. However, in October 2016 the DOT only put forward a proposal (with little data) to consider limiting speeds at 60, 65, or 68 mph. The ATA put out a statement disapproving of the proposal, as they believed the only appropriate speed limit is 68 mph.
Over 5,400 comments were attached to the proposal during the public comment period. However, the new White House administration's promise to cut regulations means that speed limiters are off the agenda. At the moment, the proposal is stalled.
Speeding and distracted driving are the two most common causes of commercial car wrecks, which is why some 18-wheelers have "black boxes" that record data and events. After an accident, special equipment is used to download evidence from the black box to determine the cause of the wreck. This data will indicate whether or not the truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident. When a truck driver speeds, he/she could be held responsible for an accident that occurs.
At Arnold & Itkin, we believe that truck drivers should be held responsible for their negligent actions. If you have been hurt in a truck accident and believe that speeding contributed to your injury, talk to a skilled injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today! We are proud to offer free case evaluations.