Archive for February, 2024

FMCSA Speed Limiter Rulemaking Aims for May 2024 Release

three semi trucks drive down the road during sunset.

Could semi-truck speed limiters help prevent commercial truck wrecks?

Federal officials are considering requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with a device that limits how fast semi-trucks can travel in an effort to prevent speed-related truck accidents, according to a recent proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now expects to publish its supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on a motor carrier-based speed limiter mandate in May of this year, according to an updated Significant Rulemaking Report from the Department of Transportation,” reports CCJ Digital,¬†a commercial truck news website.

What is the proposed FMCSA speed limiter mandate?

Since 2022, the FMCSA has been considering requiring commercial trucks that weigh more than 26,001 pounds (which would include most tractor-trailers) to be equipped with a speed-limiting device called an electronic engine control unit (ECU), according to an article published by CDL Life. The new FMCSA rules governing commercial truck speed-limiting devices are slated to be published in May 2024.

The FMCSA has not said what the maximum speed limit would be, if any, for the speed-limiting devices on commercial trucks. However, in September 2023, the FMCSA published a report that listed the maximum speed limit as 68 mph. However, the FMCSA then backtracked to remove a specific speed, CCJ Digital reports.

Many commercial truck drivers strongly oppose installing speed-limiting devices on trucks. “By limiting all trucks it will not improve safety in any meaningful way. In fact, it will most likely have the opposite effect by creating long lines of trucks on the roadways with no easy way to pass,” said one truck driver, according to some of the public comments published by CDL Life.

How common are speed-related tractor-trailer wrecks?

While some commercial truck drivers oppose the FMCSA proposal to install speed limiters on commercial trucks, it’s important to understand how common high-speed accidents involving commercial trucks are across the nation and how such crashes frequently cause severe injuries and death.

According to FMCSA data, speeding is the number one cause of fatal accidents involving large commercial trucks. Specifically, roughly 7 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks were due to speeding truck drivers.

Other proposed rule changes

Requiring all large commercial trucks to be equipped with speed-limiting devices isn’t the only proposed rule change being considered by the FMCSA. Other proposed changes to rules governing commercial truck drivers include:

  • Requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems, according to CCJ Digital.
  • Revising the knowledge test for new commercial truck drivers.
  • Changing the FMCSA fitness rules governing commercial truck drivers, which is known in the trucking industry as the FMCSA’s “safety fitness determination” rule, according to CCJ Digital.

Holding negligent truckers accountable

Holding negligent truckers and trucking companies accountable for their actions is essential to ensuring justice for victims of commercial truck accidents. While it may seem straightforward that the at-fault party should cover all accident-related expenses, the reality is often different.

In Texas, where the at-fault car insurance system is in place, many truck accident claims don’t unfold smoothly. Despite being entitled to compensation, injury victims frequently encounter challenges in obtaining the full extent of their rightful compensation. That’s because the stakes are often high in commercial truck accident claims and lawsuits. As such, truck drivers, trucking companies, and their insurance representatives often employ tactics aimed at minimizing or even denying compensation altogether.

At Smith & Hassler, our team of Houston truck accident lawyers understands the injustices that victims face in these situations. We firmly believe that individuals harmed in accidents caused by commercial truck drivers deserve fair and full compensation for their losses. You shouldn’t bear the financial burden of someone else’s mistakes, and we’re here to fight for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Get the Houston, TX law firm that means business. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a truck accident attorney you can count on in a crisis. We have four offices conveniently located throughout Texas, including three offices in Houston. Our truck accident lawyers also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no fees unless we win your case. Schedule a free case review today to learn more.