By: Allan M. Siegel
Last month, federal regulators proposed fitting large commercial vehicles
with devices that would limit their maximum speed. In a notice issued
jointly by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), officials
said speed limiters would be a safety measure that could save lives and
over $1 billion in annual fuel costs.
The proposed improvement has long been supported by safety advocates. Here
are some details about what each organization would require:
- The NHTSA proposes a new Vehicle Safety Standard that would require speed
limiters for trucks and commercial vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds.
- To comply with the rule, vehicles must have speed limiters set to a specified
maximum speed and be equipped with diagnostics that show the current speed
setting, the two previous settings, and the dates they were changed.
- The FMCSA would implement a similar rule for trucks and commercial carriers
weighing over 26,000 pounds that engage in interstate travel. The rule
would also require that speed limiters remain on vehicles for the entire
- Officials are considering various speed limits as maximums for the proposed
limiters, including 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour.
Trucks and other large commercial vehicles are massive machines that can
weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of their sheer size and the fact that
they are slow to maneuver and stop, excessive speeds can significantly
increase the risks of accidents and the damage they produce. With these
types of vehicles, even the smallest increases in speed can have a major
effect on the force of impact. For example, data reviewed by the two organizations
suggested the following:
- Setting the speed limit at 68 mph could potentially save up to 96 lives per year.
- A 65 mph limit could save up to 214 lives per year.
- 60 mph could save between 162 and 498 lives per year.
Some trucking organizations oppose the limiters, saying they could be a
dangerous mandate for drivers who may need to accelerate in order to avoid
danger. These organizations argue that no technology can replace well-trained
drivers. As our firm has seen over the years, however, not all drivers
are properly trained, and even well-trained drivers can make errors and
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we have represented
numerous victims and families harmed by
truck accidents – many of which involved truck drivers traveling at excessive speeds.
We believe speed limiters are a positive step in making roadways safer
for everyone, and believe collaboration between the NHTSA and FMCSA would
mean nearly all commercial vehicles would be limited to a safer speed.
The proposed changes can also greatly benefit the environment by reducing
Our personal injury lawyers have over 90 years of experience protecting
the rights of victims injured in all types of auto accidents. If you have
questions about your rights following a collision anywhere in Maryland,
Virginia, or Washington, DC,
contact our firm for a FREE consultation.