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To reduce truck accidents, U.S. to mandate speed limiters

One of the first things a beginning driver learns is that speed kills. That is, the faster a person drives, the more difficult it becomes to stop quickly or maneuver safely. That fundamental lesson is about to be applied by the federal government’s Department of Transportation to the trucking industry.

In an effort to reduce truck accidents on our nation’s highways, the department has announced an impending mandate that all large trucks (weighing over 26,000 pounds) be equipped with speed limiters. Though the mandate is coming, the department has yet to specify the speed to which 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles will be limited by Electronic Control Modules.

Past proposals indicated that the department favored a limit of 68 mph for the enormous vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Safety advocates note that such a limit would reduce fatal truck accidents by about 1,115 annually.

Petitions favoring the speed limiters have cited studies showing that nearly three-quarters of fatal accidents involving large trucks are on roads on which the speed limit is 55 mph or above. That’s at least partly because the enormous vehicles take much longer to stop at high speeds than they do at lower speeds.

Studies have long shown that truckers are less likely to be injured or killed in a truck accident involving passenger vehicles than the occupants of those smaller vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety wrote in a 2010 report that about 3,400 people were killed in truck accidents: 14 percent of the fatalities were in the trucks, while 72 percent of the fatalities were occupants of other vehicles. Thirteen percent of the people killed were pedestrians, on bicycles or motorcycles.

In the wake of a truck accident, families and injury victims should know that experienced personal injury attorneys are available to help with issues involving compensation for the tremendous damages done.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.