If you’ve spent any time at all behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you’ve probably encountered your fair share of tractor-trailers that are traveling much too fast on the interstate. There are many reasons that truck drivers choose to speed, including pressure from employers, tight deadlines, and even a sense of boredom or fatigue and wanting to push themselves to the next stop.
Speeding is never safe, though. Truck drivers, in particular, must be especially aware of their speed, as large trucks take much longer to come to a full and complete stop after a driver first applies the brakes. Large commercial trucks are much more susceptible to speed-related crashes than smaller passenger vehicles.
While the current rules and regulations for large trucks and truck drivers that are already in place may help limit some instances of speeding, it does not appear to be enough to eliminate the problem. At Krzak Rundio Law Group, we know just how dangerous speed can be in a truck accident. Some experts believe that rather than relying on regulations alone, the addition of speed governors could be effective at reducing truck accidents.
What Is a Speed Governor?
A speed governor is a device that is used to regulate and limit a vehicle’s top speed. These devices work by regulating how much fuel is injected into the engine at a given time, to correspond with both automatic speed limitation as well as load requirements.
When used strategically as a speed management device in a fleet, speed governors can be effective at reducing how often truck drivers speed.
There are two main types of governors that are used in semi-trucks.
- Speed limiting governors. This is the most basic type. It simply limits the top speed that a large truck may travel. These are commonly used to help limit insurance costs as their implementation may lower insurance premiums. Trucking companies that use speed-limiting governors also typically cite a desire to protect cargo and trucks as reasons for using these types of governors.
- Variable speed governors. Also referred to as all range governors, these governors prevent engine speeds that cause internal damage but do not necessarily impact how fast or slow the truck travels. A truck driver could potentially press their foot all the way down on the throttle, and the variable speed governor would not allow the engine to exceed the maximum set speed.
Speed Plays a Role in Truck Accidents
There is no denying it—speed is a major factor in many large truck accidents. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that large trucks were involved in approximately 538,000 police-reported crashes in 2019. Past research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concludes that speeding is a major factor in truck accidents. Taking these two pieces of information into account, we can conclude that speeding likely contributed to a significant number of the more than 500,000 2019 truck accidents.
Additionally, the NHTSA found that in 2019, truck drivers with one or more past speeding convictions were more likely to be involved in fatal collisions compared with truck drivers with no prior speeding convictions.
Trucks traveling at speeds higher than the posted speed limit pose a threat to you and everyone else on the road. After a truck driver presses on the brakes while driving 65 mph in ideal driving conditions, a fully loaded tractor-trailer will travel a distance equal to the length of two football fields before coming to a complete stop. That distance is even longer when it is raining, icy, snowing, or there are other substances on the road.
How Do Speed Governors Effect Truck Accident Rates?
Researchers have known for years that speed governors effectively reduce the number of trucking accidents. Multiple studies have shown that speed governors:
- Limit the risk of truck accidents
- Reduce the number of speed violations among truck drivers
- Have a positive impact on overall trucking safety
Despite the remarkable, clear benefits of speed governors on the overall safety of all motorists, there are currently no federal mandates or regulations that require trucking companies to use them. Legislation for such regulations has been proposed over recent years, including in Senate Bill S.2033 that was introduced in June 2021. Unfortunately, the bill has yet to see enough traction to get it to pass.
Until then, it is up to both trucking companies and manufacturers to take advantage of and utilize speed governors whenever possible. Since the 1990s, many big rigs have been manufactured with speed-limiting devices. Many big trucks still do not have any type of speed regulation devices, though.
There is also evidence to show that limiting tractor-trailer speeds to 68 mph nationwide would immediately have a positive impact on the number of trucking accidents.
There are limitations to this technology, though. Speed governors limit the overall maximum speed limit that big trucks can drive. These devices do not adjust based on posted speed limits or inclement weather. This means that even if a speed governor limits a truck’s speed to 68 mph, the driver could still easily speed when driving through an area with a lower posted speed limit.
The True Impact of a High-Speed Trucking Accident
The aftermath of a trucking accident is not over once the scene has been cleared and all the involved vehicles have been moved. For truck accident victims, the impacts of a high-speed crash are often far-reaching and take hold in virtually every aspect of their lives. After your own accident, you might have been too injured to return to work. This, in turn, may have left you without income to pay for your:
- Medical bills
- Rent or mortgage
- Car payments
- Monthly utility bills for essentials such as gas, electric and water
- Life necessities, such as groceries
- Other monthly bills
This only brushes the surface of what life after a truck accident can look like. Many victims struggle with ongoing pain and suffering that limits their daily activities, as well as emotional trauma related to what happened on the day of the accident. No one should have to shoulder these burdens on their own when another party was at fault for their injuries.
At Krzak Rundio Law Group, we know that you need help. We know what it takes to document evidence that proves who was at fault for your accident. When you work with us, you won’t have to deal with the insurance company on your own anymore. You’ll always have someone on your side who is willing to work tirelessly to make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
We are ready to meet with you for a free consultation, during which we can discuss the merits of your case as well as your options for taking legal action.