Proposed Federal Law Looks at Speed Limiters for Heavy-Duty Trucks

Posted in truck accidents,wrongful death on June 15, 2021

Proposed Federal Law Looks at Speed Limiters for Heavy-Duty Trucks

Speeding is one of the most common causes of big rig accidents in the country. Many motorists are injured or killed on Georgia roads every year because a truck driver is going too fast. Having a reputable Atlanta accident lawyer Atlanta residents trust can make a material difference in proving the driver’s speed.

A big reason for the severity of these injuries is the fact that is that trucks are designed quite differently than smaller vehicles. Plus, an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 20 to 30 times as much as most passenger vehicles on our roads. As a result, the momentum of an 80,000-pound vehicle traveling at speeds of 70 miles-per-hour or more can easily wipe out just about anything in its path. Many Georgia motorists suffer serious injury or are killed from speeding semis.

When the gross weight of a vehicle doubles, the distance required to stop doubles. When a semi’s speed doubles, the required stopping distance increases by four times. In addition to this, a speeding semi is especially dangerous for several reasons:

  • Big rig tires are not designed for excessive speed;
  • Drivers have increased difficulty controlling the semi; and
  • Speeding increases the chance of a rollover or jackknife.

It’s not uncommon for trucking companies to incentivize their truck drivers to reach their destinations as quickly as possible and deliver their cargo on schedule. Because of this, it’s tempting for big rig drivers to speed. In many semi accident cases, the fact that the driver was speeding may be enough to prove legal liability.

What is a Speed Limiter?

Also called a “speed governor,” a speed limiter is a device that limits or restricts a tractor-trailer’s speed using the engine’s computer and electronic sensors. When the truck reaches a set maximum speed, the sensors signal the internal computer to not allow the semi to increase its speed.

The speed limiter does this by controlling the air flow, fuel intake, and sparks that are required for internal combustion.

Bill Introduced to Limit Speed of Heavy-Duty Commercial Trucks

United States Representative Lucy McBath of Georgia, along with Representative John Katko of New York recently introduced a measure to limit the speed of large commercial trucks.

On May 25th, McBath and Katko announced the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act. The bill aims to enact a law concerning a speed limiter rule that has been under consideration and debated for more than 10 years.

While details of the bill have yet to be disclosed, a measure named the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 was introduced by former Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson in June of 2019, along with Senator Chris Coons from Delaware. That bill instructed the Department of Transportation to implement regulations to require the following:

  • All new commercial motor vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more to be equipped with speed-limiting technology;
  • Any existing speed-limiting technology already installed in such vehicles to be used while in operation; and
  • The speed-limiting technology to be set to a maximum speed of 65 mph.

The Bill is Named for Georgia Semi Accident Victim

The bill is named for the late Atlanta resident Cullum Owings. The 202-year-old Georgia man was killed in a car-semi collision in 2002 as he driving back to college on I-81 with his brother after the Thanksgiving holiday. Cullum was slowing for traffic when a big rig came up from behind them at a high rate of speed—traveling too fast to stop. Callum’s car spun on impact, and both vehicles left the road. The brothers’ vehicle was crushed against a stone embankment in the road’s median.

The two brothers were trapped inside the car when emergency workers arrived. Cullum died from his injuries before he could be freed from the wreckage. His brother Pierce survived with only minor cuts and bruises.

The new bill is endorsed by the Truckload Carriers Association, the Trucking Alliance, AAA, the Institute for Safer Trucking, Road Safe America, and the Safe Operating Speed Alliance. In addition, the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA) also endorsed Representative McBath’s bill.

Keeping truck speeds at or below 65 mph (or 70 mph with use of automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control) will very likely save lives. The technology is there and has been there for over 2 decades.

We all know that speed kills, and an 18-wheeler moving above the speed limit is a hazard to other motorists in Georgia. Having an Atlanta accident lawyer Atlanta residents work with on these cases does make a difference.  Speeding trucks can cause serious accidents that can be avoided by using devices like speed limiters, trucking companies not encouraging speeding, and better truck driver safety.

Contact Us

You should work with an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney if you’ve suffered serious injuries in an accident with a big rig. Contact Tobin Injury Law, and we will speak with you for free and give our honest opinion. With our experience and skills, we know what to look for when suing a trucking company.

You can contact an Atlanta truck accident attorney 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 404-JUSTICE (404-587-8423) or using our online contact form. Tobin Injury Law offers free consultations and will be glad to answer your questions.