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New Rule to Mandate Use of Speed-Limiting Devices in Large Trucks and Buses

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Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have introduced new rules that would require all large commercial vehicles to come equipped with devices that would cap their speed at 60, 65, or 68 mph. The rule will apply to all multi-passenger vehicles, large trucks, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks governed by the rules of the NHTSA or FMCSA that weigh over 26,000 lbs.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind stated that the speed limiters would offer a number of benefits. “This is basic physics,” he said. “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.” US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also noted the numerous advantages to be gained with use of the speed limiting devices. “Based on the agencies’ review of the available data, limiting the speed of these heavy vehicles would reduce the severity of crashes involving these vehicles and reduce the resulting fatalities and injuries.” Foxx noted that the speed limiters would help save an estimated $1 billion in fuel costs annually, making the speed-limiting devices “a win for safety, energy conservation and our environment.”

According to the Department of Transportation, speed-limiting devices hold the potential to save hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in costs, and research seems to support their arguments. In 2012, the Department of Transportation looked at the difference in fatality rates between trucks with speed limiters, and those without. The study found that trucks with speed limiters experienced about 11 crashes per 100 trucks, while those without limiters experienced 16.4 crashes per 100 trucks. Additionally, trucks without speed limiters experienced five speed-related crashes per 100 trucks, whereas those trucks with limiters experienced only 1.4 crashes per 100 trucks. The Department of Transportation estimates that, if the devices capped large vehicle speeds at 60 mph, they could prevent between 162 and 498 deaths each year, in addition to thousands of injuries.

The NHTSA estimates that one in ten deaths on the road results from accidents involving large trucks, tractor-trailers and semi-trucks. Due to the long distances needed to bring the heavy vehicles to a stop, the speed at which large trucks travel can have a huge impact on roadway safety. A truck’s stopping distance increases exponentially with increases in speed, as well. For example, a truck traveling 65 mph needs 150% of the braking distance as a truck traveling at 55 mph to come to a stop.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a large truck in New Jersey, seek the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering by contacting personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation, at 973-532-9681.

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