In 2015, 4,311 large trucks and buses caused or were involved in fatal crashes.
After several years of discussion, debates, and truck accident data analysis, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a speed limiter rule applicable to all new large trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds. The proposed speed limiter rule purports that it would decrease the number of fatal crashes involving vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds on U.S. roads that have speed limits of at least 55 mph.
The current administration halted the speed limiter rule, along with hundreds of other regulations, by way of executive order of the President. The executive order affects 43 proposed rules that are designed to improve safety, 10 of those rules focusing on highway safety. The executive order requires agencies to halt two existing rules for each rule implemented, due to unnecessary rules negatively affecting business, slowing down hiring, and impeding economic growth.
The New Rule
The speed limiter rule would require all new trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed limiting devices that set a maximum speed. Trucking companies operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices in their commercial vehicles at or below the designated speed. The government agencies advocate the speed limiter rule as a life-saving safety measure. In addition to saving lives, the speed limiter rule would save more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued in September 2016 and the public comment period ended, after an extension, on December 7, 2016. As the government agencies tasked highway safety, the NHTSA and FMCSA utilized countless resources and work hours to apply their trucking safety expertise in the speed limiter proposal and rule. The agencies received, considered, and responded to 2253 public comments on the speed limiter rule and the effect on trucking safety in the requisite analysis.
Government agencies undertake the often years-long painstaking rulemaking process with great attention and due diligence, with an eye on reaching a compromise of various business, political, and personal interests of the American public. Rulemaking is an integral part of the democratic process, allowing the public, individuals, and companies alike, to weigh in on the measures that will affect their lives and businesses.
Almost 50 percent of the halted regulations were required, in part, by Congress. As part of our country’s system of government, agencies are required to adopt Congress-mandated rules. Now, due to the executive order, these agencies must eliminate expenditures by cutting other programs and regulations to be able to implement safety measures, including the speed limiter rule which was designed to lower the incidence of truck accidents. The speed limiter rule is one of the costliest pending transportation regulations, and it cannot be implemented until the Department of Transportation cuts existing rules resulting in billions of dollars in savings.
The American Trucking Association and Road Safe America petitioned the NHTSA in 2006 to require speed limiters to increase truck safety and reduce trucking accidents. Road Safe America was formed by the parents of Cullum Owings, who was fatally injured in 2002 when a speeding truck rear-ended his car, which was stopped in traffic. The driver was unable to stop partly due to excessive speed.
The Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck with a big-rig or commercial truck, our truck accident lawyers in Columbia are ready and prepared to help you. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we can help you when a truck accident causes injuries, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, insurance disputes, or other issues.Contact us online or call our offices at 803-929-3600 to schedule a free consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.