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Feds target speed-related truck accidents with new rule

Over-the-road truck drivers are often on a strict time schedule to pick up and drop off cargo. Like employees in a number of other professions, truckers are under enormous pressure to stick to a schedule to meet deadlines. In order to do this, however, drivers might feel the need to exceed posted speed limits.

Although traveling a little faster might help truck drivers complete jobs more effectively, it also opens the door to accidents. Given the considerable weight of most tractor-trailers, these vehicles have can make it exceptionally difficult to stop quickly. Studies have shown this to be a contributing factor to accidents. In fact, reports show that more than 70 percent of fatal truck accidents have involved a rig traveling at 55 mph or faster.

Federal safety officials have recognized speeding as an issue among commercial truckers, so they recently announced a new rule. As early as October, the U.S. Department of Transportation will require trucks that make interstate trips to have an electronic control module. Otherwise known as a governor, this device will limit the speed of commercial trucks. There is no word as to what the overall speed limit will be, but the hope is that a ceiling on truck speed will help limit the number of serious and fatal crashed.

Of course, this regulation would make it a requirement for independent truckers and trucking companies to install the appropriate equipment on their vehicles. Failure to adhere to this rule could be considered negligence -- especially in the event of a speed-related accident.

Even though putting a lid on the speed of commercial trucks is a positive safety development, the reality is that there are a number of other reasons behind truck accidents. Federal officials have a variety of other safety rules for this reason and they are no less important to follow.

Source: Claims Journal, "Fed to Require Speed Limiters on Trucks," Gary Wickert, May 1, 2014

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