Numerous Severe Tractor-Trailer Accidents on I-84 Spur Senator’s Call for Mandatory Speed Limiting Devices in Commercial Trucks
Drivers and motorists have likely heard the admonishment that “speed kills” at least once during their lifetime. The simple fact of the matter is that traveling at excessive rates of speed reduces the margin for error. A simple miscalculation caused by not seeing another vehicle can transform into a serious accident as high rates of speed increase reaction times and stopping distances. Likewise, another driver’s unexpected lane change or braking may be transformed from a close call to a serious collision when one or more vehicles are speeding.
Unfortunately speeding not only makes an accident more likely to occur but also when a crash does occur, high rates of speed also increase the likelihood that an accident results in serious or fatal injuries. This is due to the fact that the forces present in an accident are a function of the mass of the vehicle multiplied by its rate of speed. Thus as the size and speed of the vehicle increases, the forces involved in an accident become more violent. Our truck accident lawyers explain further.
Severe Accidents on I-84, I-684 Spur Senator’s Call for Speed Limiting Devices
A number of high-profile tractor-trailer accidents on I-84 and I-684 have attracted the attention of Senator Chuck Schumer. In a number of these accidents, excessive travel speeds were blamed for causing the crashes. In one incident occurring in the spring of 2016, a multi-vehicle wreck closed down the roadways for more than 4 hours.
Unfortunately, accidents involving larger trucks are especially common in New York’s Hudson Valley region. In fact, according to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2014, there were nearly 11,000 large truck crashes in the state. Of these crashes, about 10 percent were attributed to speeding trucks. NHTSA statistics reveal that, in 2015, there were 126 truck-related fatalities in New York. This region of New York is not alone in an area with a high incidence of truck accidents. Many other areas in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States also present an increased risk for truck accidents.
What Actions Would the Speed Limiter Device Require?
As proposed by Schumer, the final rule would require speed-limiting devices to be installed in all commercial trucks weighing greater than 26,000 pounds. This would mean that not only would 18-wheelers be required to have the electronic limiters installed but limiters would also be required on school buses, dump trucks, and commercial buses.
According to Schumer and other safety advocates, requiring speed liter devices in large trucks and other vehicles could save hundreds of lives each year. For instance, if the limiters were set to allow a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour, safety advocates project that 162 to 498 lives would be saved each year. If the limiters were set to 68 miles an hour, advocates estimate that 27 to 96 lives would be saved annually.
However, Seven in Ten Companies Have Already Implemented Speed Limiting Devices
According to one study conducted by American Trucking Associations (ATA), nearly 70 percent of trucking companies have already installed the speed limiting devices. Thus, some have stated that the rule is unnecessary regulation. However, those who seem to suggest that 70 percent compliance is good enough miss the point.
The 30 percent of companies that have failed to take action, at least in part, likely represent trucking companies with ongoing or systemic safety problems. Companies that fail to adopt technologies proven to reduce accident risk are unlikely to engage in any safety measures beyond those they are required to take. Furthermore, companies that are loath to spend a few dollars to measurably reduce the risk of a serious accident may engage in other short-term thinking that increases accident risk for all. For instance, these companies may try to boost short-run profit margins by deferring maintenance on the truck, encouraging drivers to fake logs and drive beyond hours of service limits, or assigning routes that are impossible to complete on time without speeding.
Injured by a Speeding Commercial Truck or Bus and seeking a Truck Accident Attorney?
A finalized Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) that limit speeds would address one of the major causes of serious trucking accidents. However, even if this rule is finalized, other serious challenges affecting highway safety still exist. For instance, distracted driving is still a huge problem in the commercial trucking industry. Likewise, driving while fatigued or when under the influence of drugs or alcohol also contribute to preventable crashes each year.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a serious trucking accident, the I-84 Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers of Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for you. To schedule a confidential legal consultation with our trucking accident lawyers, call (215) 709-6940 today or contact us online.