Proposed truck speed limit regulations are a cause for debate

A joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may forcibly limit the speed of trucks and other large vehicles. The proposal’s aim is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities on Connecticut and U.S. highways through the use of an electronic capping device that will render vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds unable to exceed a particular speed. Speed caps being considered are 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour, and lawmakers are seeking public comment over a 60-day period before the proposal is written into law.

Sources say that the large vehicle speed cap was initially proposed in 2006 by the nonprofit Roadsafe America and later by American Trucking Associations. Proponents of the regulation say that reducing the top speeds of large vehicles could save $1 billion in fuel costs annually as well as cut down on the more than 1,000 fatal trucking accidents per year.

Many drivers and truck owners, however, believe that the proposed regulation could do more harm than good. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association says that a speed limit cap could result in an increase of ‘dangerous interactions” between fast-moving cars and slower big rigs. The speed limit disparity may be especially pronounced in states where speed limits meet or exceed 80 miles per hour.

Those who have been injured in an accident that was caused by a negligent truck driver may want to have the assistance of counsel in seeking compensation for the resulting medical bills and loss of income. In some cases the truck driver’s employer could be held financially responsible as well.