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Will speed limiters ever be mandatory for trucks in the U.S.?

On Behalf of Bennerotte & Associates, P.A.

Mar 30, 2023

Truck/Semi Accidents

Federal commercial truck regulations designed to improve the safety of massive commercial trucks that we all share the roads with have undoubtedly been strengthened over the years. Adjustments have addressed concerns including Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules, which mandate how many consecutive hours a trucking professional can drive, how many they have to rest and other factors to lessen the chances of falling asleep at the wheel.

Beyond that, electronic logs automatically provide information so there’s less room for drivers or their employers to falsify logs. Enhanced training requirements and serious consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs have also helped to prevent crashes.

Speeding, however, remains a problem – and is still the cause of many serious and fatal crashes caused by commercial trucks. When truck drivers are feeling the pressure of delivering their load by a specific time – and may be facing a Minnesota snowstorm that’s left them with more time to make up than they anticipated — there’s no question that some drivers will speed.

What steps have federal regulators been taking?

The idea of requiring speed limiters on commercial trucks is nothing new. Federal regulatory agencies have been advocating for them for years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) FMCSA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) have previously proposed that limiters be installed on any commercial truck with a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds.

These agencies are expected to issue a “final” proposal later this year. The idea, not surprisingly, has received pushback from some in the trucking industry who say they won’t improve safety and will only cause backups on high-speed interstates and highways.

While speeding remains a problem, crashes will continue to occur at a staggering rate. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or been killed in a crash caused by a large commercial truck, you can expect to have various parties like the driver, their employer, the truck’s owner and the manufacturer passing the buck – and their liability. Having experienced legal guidance will be crucial to seeking justice and compensation.