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Agency wants to prevent truck accidents through speeding devices

Due to their sheer weight and size and the laws of physics, speeding semi-trucks have the potential to cause disastrous accidents, causing innocent drivers to suffer serious injuries or even lose their lives. Therefore, Illinois residents may be interested to hear that a rule was recently proposed by the Obama administration that would require semi-truck drivers to install an electronic mechanism on their vehicles that would cap how fast their trucks would be able to operate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggested this rule. Under the rule, electronic speed limiters would make it so that a truck could drive no faster than 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour. However, the agencies stated that the public would be allowed to suggest other speeds, which they would take under consideration. The rule would affect vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds, which would include vehicles such as semi-trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks and buses, among others.

According to one agency representative, the reasoning behind the rule boils down to basic physics. Semi-trucks are immensely heavy, so the faster they are going, the greater the impact is and damages caused should a truck accident occur. Accidents involving large trucks and buses caused nearly 4,000 fatalities in 2014. Moreover, approximately 1,000 individuals are killed by speeding trucks each year.

The American Trucking Association along with nine of the largest carriers approves of this rule. According to the chief executive of the ATA, speed is a major factor in collisions involving trucks. Moreover, those who have already volunteered to utilize speed limiters in their vehicles have found that these devices provided significant safety benefits with little to no detrimental effect on the driver's efficiency. The ATA has stated that speed played a role in 23 percent of accidents involving trucks.

According to regulators a 68 miles per hour maximum speed limit could save as many as 96 lives each year. If a truck's speed was capped at 65 miles per hour as many as 214 lives could be saved each year. And a 60 miles per hour maximum speed limit could save as many as 498 lives each year.

It remains to be seen how this rule will move forward. However, if and when it is ultimately implemented, it may have an effect on the safety of all drivers on the roadways.

Source: Trucks.com, "US DOT Wants Electronic Devices to Stop Trucks From Speeding," Clarissa Hawes, Aug. 26, 2016

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