charleston trucking accident attorney

Do Speed Limiters Prevent Truck Accidents?

To save you from the risk of truck accidents and help those involved in collisions with heavy commercial trucks, the federal and South Carolina laws are well laid for truck driving accidents. That’s because ruck accidents are very serious and potentially life-threatening for the party involved in the crash. Our Charleston truck accident attorneys are glad to help and will handle all truck accident cases including death, head trauma, severe burns, broken bones, and paralysis. 

One way a truck accident normally occurs is simply by not following the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and traffic laws in South Carolina. A common law truck drivers overlook is the set speed limit for a particular road or highway. Over speeding can sometimes occur due to lateness in deliveries, the urge to return back home, or lack of keenness. 

Speeding Trucks Has A Number Of Dangers

Commercial vehicles are heavier and bigger than small passenger vehicles. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo. This kind of weight holds the truck to the ground thus making it much harder to suddenly slow down than lighter vehicles. If the truck is speeding, it may not be able to stop in time in case traffic has come to a stop or there’s a road hazard ahead. 

If the weather is not significantly favorable, the chances of getting in a fatal accident are even higher. Drivers in this kind of situation need to adjust their speed limit based on the weather and traffic conditions even if it means adjusting to speeds lower than required limits on that particular road or highway. Wider roads are also dangerous. When truck drivers overspeed and fail to control the vehicle, there’s a lot of space to shift which in turn can result in a jackknife accident. 

Speeding is the major contributor to loss of control of vehicles and in heavy commercial trucks, it is harder to make the vehicle come to a halt. Truck drivers increase the chances of accidents when they speed combined with either of the following combinations: 

  • Distracted driving 
  • Inappropriate lane changes 
  • Drunk driving 
  • Overweight trucks 
  • Tailgating 
  • Brake failure 

What about Speed Limiters? Will They Help?

Speed limiters help maintain and reduce the speed of trucks and other vehicles. They automatically keep the speed of a truck to a certain preset and no matter how fast the driver goes it will maintain that figure. Early in 2016, FMCSA presented a proposal to introduce speed limiters to commercial and heavy-duty trucks. The document aimed at capping trucks to three proposed speed limits of 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour. 

Such regulations came to mind after the FMCSA found studies showing how significant speed has directly affected major truck accidents. In recent statistics, a whopping 66 percent of all deaths involved in truck accidents in 2016 were drivers and passengers in other vehicles. 

Consequently, this proposal has met its fair share of debate between truck lobbyists, truck drivers, and the government, with the view on speed limiters having several angles as pointed out during this period. That said, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these speed limiters and their relation to lowering truck accident rates. 

Firstly, adding a speed limiter to a truck comes at a negligible cost. The main aim of any trucking company is reducing fuel costs while increasing fuel efficiency. A truck driving at 75 mph will consume up to 27% more energy than one going at 65 mph-  a significant money-saver in any trucking business. 

Secondly, speed limiters will have a great positive impact on some truck parts. For example, in an independent AP investigation, large trucks frequently travel at speeds that are not suitable for their tires, or rather their tires cannot withstand. Trucks traveling faster than 75 mph have a higher chance of getting blowouts. Interestingly, these blowout speeds are permitted in certain state highways. 

Also, speed limiters will allow truck drivers more adjust to how they halt during emergency situations. Generally, a truck traveling at an average speed of 65 mph will take the distance of two football fields to come to a complete stop. It gets even more dangerous when the speeds are higher. Speed limiters can help truck drivers anticipate emergency situations by driving at fairly acceptable speeds. 

Some Argue Speed Limiters May Not Prevent Crashes

While several government bodies and research agencies show that speed limiters could prevent truck accidents, some truckers have other thoughts. One report from NBC News claims that truckers fear speed limiters would cause what is known as “dangerous speed differentials between cars and trucks.” That means, if trucks travel at a slower speed, most cars will be involved in maneuvers to try and pass by the trucks which will create more risks than trucks traveling at higher speeds. 

Since there are already commercial trucks with speed limiters across the United States, some truckers have already noticed drivers finding a way to maneuver speed limiters. There are certain devices on the market that allow truck drivers to drive as fast as they want without being detected. These devices are so stealth that they make sure the event data recorder on the truck does not register true speeds in case of an accident. This makes it hard to prove liability in a truck accident case and may bring truck accident victims a huge problem.  

All in all, research has some strong evidence to suggest that speeding is one of the main contributors to truck accidents in South Carolina. Moreover, in states where trucking companies have installed speed limiters in their trucks, fewer truck accidents have occurred. 

Contact An Experienced Charleston Trucking Accident Lawyer As Soon As Possible

At The Hartman Law Firm, LLC, we understand how complicated trucking accident cases can be. They can even get more complicated if the truck drivers or companies attempt to hide liability. Luckily, our experienced attorneys know what to look for. Contact our offices today to discuss your options.  

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