Speed Limiters on Trucks: Good or Bad?
We all want there to be fewer accidents on the road. While the goal is simple, the way to achieve it is far more complicated. Many ideas revolve around speed. Research done at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that 33,000 deaths that occurred between 1993 and 2013 were caused by increases in speed limits. Currently, 41 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher, including six that boast limits as high as 80 mph and one with some roads that allow a maximum speed of 85 mph.
Science tells us that higher speeds translate into more potential danger the heavier the vehicle, not only due to the sheer size and weight of large vehicles, but also how much longer they take to stop. For example, a lightly loaded 40,000-pound truck has approximately 13 times the energy of a 3,000-pound car that is traveling at the same speed. The combining of these factors has resulted in the suggestion to build big-rigs that are incapable of going above a certain speed. However, it’s possible that a decrease in highway speed variance will cause more danger on the road, rather than less.
Restricting speed for big-rigs isn’t exactly a new concept, as seven states already require that trucks travel at lower speeds than passenger vehicles. But speed limiters make traveling above a certain speed a mechanical impossibility. In addition to fewer crashes, proponents argue that crashes will be less severe, that fuel economy will improve, and that tire blowouts will be reduced (due to not driving faster than a tire’s rated speed).
On the other side, a major criticism of limiters is that they would contribute to being unsafe by preventing trucks from moving with the flow of traffic. Multi-lane highways are full of vehicles proceeding at different speeds, and congestion is a common problem when one or more lanes are moving significantly slower than the others. Consider how easily backups on two-lane highways could result if passenger and light-duty vehicles can travel up to 20 mph faster than big trucks. Consider also what happens if a big-rig decides to pass another vehicle in the slow-moving right lane on the highway. That truck can’t go fast enough to pass quickly, which causes a roadblock that can back up for miles. Traffic like that could provoke all sorts of frustrated reactions and lane bobbing, leading some to theorize that speed limiters would create chronic road rage.
Another negative is that speed limiters would likely contribute to a noticeable increase in the price of shipping, because goods would take longer to reach their destination and more trucks would be required to get them there. A truck traveling at 55 mph, for example, will go 55 miles in one hour’s time. But a truck traveling at 75 mph travels 20 more miles in an hour. On a similar note, some skeptics view limiters as a way for the federal government to favor large trucking companies over smaller ones. Independent operations and smaller firms have better safety records than the large carriers, and some people feel that speed limiters would give a competitive edge to the larger companies.
Trucking companies want their drivers to get to their destinations quickly, but safely. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, are the survivor of a someone who was killed by a negligent driver, or have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by contacting experienced Louisiana vehicle wreck attorney Chris Roy, Jr., founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm. Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, he takes pride in helping accident victims in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Allen Parish, Vernon Parish, and throughout Central Louisiana. Benefit from his assistance and knowledge by contacting the firm for a free initial consultation. Call 1-318-487-9537 to get help today.