Report: Speed governors proposed as mandatory equipment for large trucks

To cut down on speed-related trucking accidents, the DOT has proposed making speed limiting devices mandatory equipment for heavy commercial vehicles.

Unfortunately, collisions involving commercial trucks and smaller passenger vehicles are all too common in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports there were approximately 415,000 trucking accidents across the country in 2015 alone, many of which resulted in serious injuries and death. There are numerous factors that contribute to the occurrence of such wrecks, including speeding. A recent proposal by the U.S. Department of Transportation's FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is aimed at reducing speed-related truck crashes.

The danger of speeding trucks

Most people are aware that driving faster than the conditions allow or in excess of the posted speed limit may be dangerous. However, this may be even more hazardous for large trucks due to their size and weight. In fact, the FMCSA points out that it may take the distance of nearly two football fields for large trucks to stop when traveling at highway speeds. This distance may be increased when these vehicles are carrying particularly heavy loads or they are traveling in poor conditions.

Equipping commercial vehicles with speed limiters

In a joint proposal, the FMCSA and NHTSA have suggested implementing a new rule that would make speed-governing devices mandatory for equipment for some commercial trucks. The proposal would apply to all newly manufactured vehicles in the U.S. weighing 26,000 pounds or more. Under the rule, the devices would be set at a maximum speed of 60, 65 or 68 mph.

The belief is that by regulating the top speeds of these vehicles, the number of speed-involved trucking accidents will decrease, thus reducing the associated injuries and fatalities. Additionally, the agencies suggest that the proposal will increase fuel efficiency for the nation's commercial vehicle fleet.

How do speed-governing devices work?

Speed-governing devices, interface with vehicles' speedometers and engine control units to limit their top speeds. When large trucks that are equipped with speed limiters reach the set maximum speed, a communication is sent from the device to the vehicle's engine computer. The computer then restricts the airflow into the engine, the engine's fuel supply or the ignition system's timing, thus, preventing the vehicle from traveling any faster.

Seeking legal counsel

For the drivers of passenger vehicles and their occupants, the effects of trucking accidents in New Jersey and elsewhere may be devastating. Those involved in such collisions often suffer serious injuries, which may require extensive medical care and time to recover. Consequently, they may incur losses, including undue medical bills and lost wages while they are off work healing. Therefore, those who have been injured in commercial vehicle wrecks may find it of benefit to discuss their rights and options for pursuing financial compensation with an attorney.