Top Speed Reductions Lead to Fewer Truck Accidents

According to a 2012 study that was funded by the federal government, reducing maximum truck speeds results in a reduced rate of truck accidents, lending support for the use of speed-limiting devices on large commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration used this study to support its proposed rule to mandate the installation of speed limiters in all large commercial trucks. The proposed rule, which was issued in Sept. 2016, was recently moved off of the Department of Transportation’s rule-making calendar and it is unlikely to be passed or enacted any time in the near future. It is unclear whether the proposed rule would have had a significant impact on cases handled by a truck accident lawyer in Illinois.

Speed Limiter Impact on Crash Rates

Speeding is a factor in about 8 percent of all large truck crashes. The Virginia Tech University Transportation Institute together with the American Transportation Research Institute reviewed data from 138,000 trucks and 15,000 crashes to evaluate the impact of speed limiters on large truck accidents. The trucks were divided into a speed-limiter group and a non-speed limiter group. The researchers found that trucks equipped with speed limiters had a statistically significant reduction in crash rate when compared to trucks that did not have speed limiters installed. The researchers did state that some of the effects of the speed limiters could have been accounted for by other factors. The FMCSA used the study as a basis for its proposal to mandate the installation of speed limiters on all large trucks, and the proposed rule was published in Sept. 2016 for public comments.

DOT Places the Speed-Limiter Rule on Hold

Donald Trump has made his anti-regulatory stance clear since his election as president. It was expected that the administration would not move to implement the proposed speed-limiter rule. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued its updated calendar for regulations, and the speed limiter rule was moved from the agency’s active rulemaking list to its long-term calendar. Therefore, it is unlikely to be enacted as long as Trump remains in office.

Speeding is one of the factors that a truck accident lawyer sees in cases involving negligence. While speed limiters might help, they are unlikely to be mandatory for some time.