Young & McCarthy LLP

Speed limiters could reduce large truck crashes

Federal data shows an increase in large truck crash deaths from 2009 to 2017. This surge comes despite the fact that commercial truckers traveled fewer and fewer miles as the eight-year period progressed. Road Safe America, a highway safety non-profit, is now encouraging using automatic emergency braking systems and speed limiters on commercial trucks in Ohio and across the U.S.

The non-profit shows that out of those states that saw the highest increase in truck crash deaths (Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania) and those states that saw the highest increase in truck crash death percentages (Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Nevada), most have a 70 mph speed limit. This is dangerous for large trucks, considering how they have a longer stopping distance than other vehicles.

However, safety advocates say that speed limiters can help prevent crashes if they are set at a reasonable 65 mph. Truckers will have more time to avoid a crash and reduce the severity of any collision that does occur. Automatic emergency braking helps by alerting drivers to objects and applying the brakes if drivers don't react.

Big rigs have been equipped with speed limiters since the 1990s, and many are in favor of mandating these devices. However, a 2016 notice issued by the NHTSA and FMCSA that proposes such a mandate has fallen through.

Sometimes, truckers are entirely to blame for causing a crash. They could, for example, choose to drive drowsy or while distracted. When such negligence leads to injuries, the victim can file a personal injury claim and possibly be covered for their medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, pain and suffering and other losses. They may want legal representation because trucking companies can be aggressive in arguing cases. A lawyer can negotiate for a settlement or take the case to court.

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