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Texas Truck Speed Limiters Decision Hangs in the Balance

Posted on Friday, April 14th, 2017 at 6:28 am    

A proposal to install speed limiters on the nation’s trucks in order to save lives and reduce the number of serious injuries due to truck crashes hangs in the balance. It awaits a decision by the incoming Trump administration, which has vowed to limit federal regulation.

The proposal follows on from the results of a study into the link between the speed of large trucks and the number of serious accidents. It might seem obvious that the faster trucks travel on our highways, the more accidents there are going to be, but the study went further than that. The study took place in 2012 by the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech University Transportation Institute. It focused on data from 15,000 truck accidents, 20 different trucking companies and nearly 140,000 individual tractor-trailers. The research definitively suggested that lower speeds meant fewer serious accidents, fewer fatalities and overall better safety conditions.

The research findings seem hardly surprising, but trucking fleets and individual drivers are under pressure to get their loads delivered as fast and as efficiently as possible, so may question at what speeds do the safety advantages really kick in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzed the data and proposed that limiters were installed on the nation’s truck fleet, limiting the speeds of tractor-trailers and other trucks over 26,001 pounds to 68 mph. Other speed limits proposed were 60 mph and 65 mph. A speed limiter does what the name suggests. It means that trucks would not be able to drive their vehicles beyond the cut off speed.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has suggested that the speed limit proposal would have another advantage, unrelated to safety. It has been estimated that speed limiters would save $1.1 billion in annual fuel costs.

2012 was five years ago, but the NHTSA proposal has had to go through a period of open public comment. That closed at the end of 2016 with no decision made yet. Of course, it may be that the new Trump administration has other things on its mind, so it may still be some time before any decision is made one way or another.

Truck accident statistics

There are around 15.5 million trucks on U.S. roads at any one time. These trucks are a vital part of the U.S. economy and without them life as we know it would come to a grinding halt. 13% of these trucks are 18 wheelers, also known as big rigs or tractor-trailers. Big trucks in particular are also the cause of many of the worst accidents and the highest number of serious injuries and fatalities. The sheer difference in size and weight between an 18 wheeler and the average car or small vehicle means that a collision between one and the other results in the occupants of the smaller vehicle coming off worse.

Truck accidents result in costly medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as emotional trauma for the crash victims, their family and friends.

Every year in the U.S. there are 500,000 accidents involving large trucks. 130,000 injuries are caused as a result of these accidents and 5,000 fatalities.

In Texas, the accident rate from truck crashes is in line with the rest of the country in terms of millions of miles driven. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that there were 284 fatalities in 2010 and 2,339 serious injuries as a result of truck accidents. The Texas truck fatality rate is estimated to be about 1.3 fatalities for every 100 million miles of travel. There were 15,676 big rig accidents in the year quoted above alone.

Whatever the decision made about speed limiters, it doesn’t affect the fact that truck accidents are a fact of life on Texas roads. It doesn’t matter how safe you are as a driver, it’s possible to be hit by a large truck at any time. If this is what has happened to you or a member of your family and you have been injured, you should contact one of our experienced truck accident attorneys at the Patino Law Firm in McAllen, Texas.

The sooner you instigate a personal injury claim against the driver at fault or the trucking firm the easier it will be to negotiate a fair and sensible compensation payment to help you pay for medical bills and lost earnings. You can contact the Patino Law Firm at 1-956-631-3535. There are no legal fees involved unless we win your claim on your behalf!