Pratcher Krayer LLC

Renewed proposal to reduce truck accidents through speed control

Earlier this year, a trucking safety advocacy group requested that the federal government require tractor-trailers to use speed restrictors. That request was recently acted upon by two senators, one of whom represents Delaware, who have introduced the bill to Congress. It is hoped that speed restictors will reduce serious truck accidents.  

The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019, calls for all new trucks 26,000 pounds or larger,  to be equipped with speed restrictors set to 65-mph. The bill does not require that the devices be retroactive to older vehicles. Several of the major carriers in the country, such as Knight-Swift and J.B. Hunt, support the measure and the Trucking Alliance director expressed confidence that the bill could reduce deadly crashes, which resulted in an estimated 140,000 victims either injured or killed in 2018.

Other groups stated they are studying the issue but have expressed concerns that requiring only truckers to restrict speed could potentially cause more accidents since many states have moved to increase their speed limits. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the measure as it claims most crashes are not caused by high speeds. This type of bill has been pursued approximately 20 times in the past decade with the most recent effort expiring in 2016. 

A recent proposal to increase the length of twin trailers included a clause requiring trucks hauling dual trailers to use speed restrictors set to 68-mph. The trailers would also be equipped with other safety measures, including automatic braking. It remains to be seen whether the current bill will meet with any success. Truck accidents usually result in horrifying consequences from which victims or their families may never fully recover -- physically, emotionally or financially. Those who have been harmed in a Delaware crash that was the fault of another party may seek recovery of their monetary damages by means of a civil lawsuit.

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