Truck drivers in Texas and around the country work on tight schedules, which encourages them to drive at speeds that are not always safe. Speeding can lead to dangerous truck accidents.
The speed limits in Texas are the highest in the country, which could be a reason why the Lone Star State leads the nation in fatal truck accidents. Road safety advocacy groups have long called for lower speed limits for tractor-trailers and speed limiters to be made mandatory equipment in all large commercial vehicles. On May 26, lawmakers introduced a bill that would answer these calls.
The bipartisan Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act, which is named after a 22-year-old Georgia man killed in a truck accident in 2002, would mandate speed limiters in all new trucks and set a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standard that establishes a 65-mph maximum speed for most commercial vehicles. Large trucks equipped with automatic emergency brakes and adaptive cruise control would be allowed to travel at speeds of up to 70 mph if the legislation passes. However, that is far from certain. Efforts to mandate speed-limiting devices have been blocked 20 times since 2011.
State speed limits
The passage of the bill would create a situation in states like Texas with high speed limits where truck drivers would be in violation of FMCSA regulations while traveling at speeds below the posted limit. This could affect a truck driver’s safety rating even if it does not add points to their driver’s license. Groups including Road Safe America, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Institute for Safer Trucking support the legislation because they believe it will reduce the number of deadly truck accidents. The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association opposes the bill and says that it would make the roads more dangerous by forcing trucks to travel at slower speeds than the vehicles around them.
Truck accident lawsuits
Tractor-trailers are fitted with black-box type devices that keep track of important information like vehicle speed. When truck accidents may have been caused by excessive speed, experienced personal injury attorneys pursuing compensation for those who suffered injury, loss or damage may seek to obtain this data to establish negligence in court. Attorneys may also check the record of the driver involved to see if he or she has a history of reckless driving.