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New speed-limiting regulations may reduce truck accidents

Few people feel safe when traveling on the highway alongside a big rig. Some drivers may hold their breath as the trucks pass or even avoid the interstates altogether. The presence of tractor trailers is intimidating to many drivers because of the frequency of truck accidents and the catastrophic damage they can cause. However, a proposed federal trucking regulation is aimed at reducing accidents and saving lives.

Posted speed limits seem to rise every few years. It is likely that a large percentage of drivers on the road are in a hurry, and this may compel them to go beyond those already high speeds. Combine speed with the monstrous size and weight of an 18-wheeler, and the potential for deadly accidents increases. Approximately 740 people die annually in accidents involving speeding trucks.

Federal regulators are proposing a new law that would require all newly manufactured vehicles over 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed-limiting technology. These devices will allow the vehicles to travel no faster than 60 to 68 miles per hour. Slower speeds will allow truckers to stop more quickly when traffic slows ahead of them. It may also reduce accidents caused by drivers losing control of their vehicles or jackknifing into traffic.

Some have already declared that the proposal does not go far enough and should include all large vehicles, not just new ones. Many trucks already carry speed-limiting devices, but if they are older vehicles, they will not be required to use them. This will mean that, despite new regulations, many trucks will still be on the road traveling at a high rate of speed.

The presence of fast-moving trucks on the highway may be a reminder of the prosperity of our country. However, for those who have lost a loved one in a truck accident, it reminds them of the devastation that can be caused by a driver who is negligent. Many have sought and won substantial compensation with the help of a dedicated attorney. While money does not bring a loved one back, it may help a family cope with the loss in a practical way.

Source: cbs.com, "Federal regulators move to limit speeds of large trucks and buses" Kris Van Cleave, Aug. 30, 2016

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