Speed limiting Technology may Pave the way for Fewer Commercial Trucking Accidents
One of the most dangerous things you can face on the road as a driver is a tractor-trailer speeding towards you. In an effort to improve safety on highways across the country the United States Department of Transportation recently announced their proposal to install speed limiting devices in commercial trucks. The Department of Transpiration has recognized that speeding truck drivers are one of the leading causes of fatal and catastrophic truck accidents across the country. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds and when this weight is combined with excessive speeds, there is not only an increased chance of an accident but the very real potential that any accident will be fatal.
In late August 2016, U.S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a proposal in conjunction with the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to equip heavy-duty vehicles with a device that would limit their maximum speed.
The proposed devices would function by physically limiting how fast the truck would be able to drive. The devices would come set with a maximum speed currently being recommended at 60, 65, or 68 miles an hour. A driver who is in a truck that has had one of these devices installed would not be able to make their vehicle exceed these speeds. However, the currently proposed rule would not apply to every commercial vehicle – namely excluding some of the lighter vehicles – and would apply to commercial vehicles that have a gross weight exceeding 26,000 pounds. As proposed, the motor carriers would be responsible for maintaining these devices and enforcing the speed rules.
Why Should there be a Speed Limiting Device?
Following the stock market’s rebound, gas and oil prices across the country saw a steep decline. This encouraged more companies and more drivers to be on the road. Lower gas prices contributed to an influx of not only commercial drivers but also commuters on the road. Despite the availability of more delivery services, drivers are still under incredible pressure to meet deadlines and make deliveries in a timely manner. Often this means the driver must speed in order to make their destination in time. However, this poses a problem for truck drivers and other motorists as well. Not only does speeding increase the chance that there will be an accident, but it also increases the chance that multiple cars will be involved.
Trucks are already prone to more accidents depending on the traffic they are in, the load they are carrying, the location they are driving in, and because of conditions inherent to driving a larger vehicle. The Department of Transportation has pushed this device as a means of forcing drivers to be more careful when they are on the road. Their proposal is an attempt to stem accidents experienced when a truck is merging and changing lanes.
In addition to increased road safety, there would also be an economic advantage as well. The DOT has estimated that by implementing this device that consumers will be able to save more than 1 billion dollars in fuel costs every year. This is beneficial for all parties involved. The trucking company will save money by not having to fuel as often, the consumers will benefit because they do not have to pay as much in fuel prices added during delivery, and the environment will benefit by having fewer fumes in the air.
While this rule is only in the proposal stages, it could signal a shift in the trucking industry which has notoriously fought against safety measures in the past.
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