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Amid a Surge in Fatal Truck Accidents, FMCSA Considers Requiring Speed-Limiters on Large Trucks & Buses

Semi-truck and passenger vehicles on an Alabama highway

If approved, speed limiters may help prevent wrecks involving 18-wheelers

The semi-trucks and tractor-trailers driving alongside you on highways such as I-10 and I-65 may be equipped with speed-limiting technology in the near future.

That's because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comment on a proposal to require large trucks and buses to make use of speed limiters. The FMCSA has not recommended a specific top speed limit for large trucks. However, when a similar proposal was made in 2016, policymakers discussed maximum speeds of 60 mph, 65 mph, or 68 mph.

Many trucks already use electronic engine control units (ECUs) to govern speed and prevent vehicle damage. This technology, which has been installed in most heavy trucks since 1999, could be used as speed limiters, the FMSCA suggests. The adoption of speed-limiters would reduce serious injury-causing and fatal truck accidents, proponents say.

Alabama truck accidents

Accidents involving 18-wheelers are among the most violent and deadly crashes on the road due to the massive size of big rigs. Whether it's a jackknife in Mobile, a rollover in Montgomery, a rear-end truck accident in Birmingham, or a head-on truck crash in Columbus, the faster a semi is moving at the time of impact, the more damage and destruction it will cause.

Speeding truckers are becoming more common and putting everyone on the road at a greater risk for severe injury or death. From 2009 to 2019, the number of speed-related truck accidents shot up by 50 percent, according to federal data.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, the number of truck accidents has been rising steadily since 2010, according to state data. In 2019, the year with the most recent data available, there were almost 10,500 truck accidents in the state. Of those wrecks, 2,612 caused 137 deaths.

Truck accident injuries

When accidents involving tractor-trailers aren't fatal, they can cause serious and potentially life-altering injuries. Common truck injuries include:

  • Broken bones.
  • Facial injuries, which may require reconstructive surgery and operations.
  • Eye injuries.
  • Whiplash and other severe neck injuries.
  • Paralysis or nerve damage due to a spinal cord injury.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).

Treatment for a truck accident injury can be expensive, but crash victims have the right to seek compensation for their medical bills and other losses, such as lost wages, diminished earning potential, replacement services, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and more.

The stakes are high after a truck accident because your health and future financial stability are on the line. That is why your attorney should advocate for maximum compensation by calculating the full cost of the accident and how it has affected your life.

What causes truck accidents?

"Driving too fast for conditions" and "speeding" were the primary causes in more than 300 Alabama truck accidents and contributing factors in thousands of more accidents. Other primary causes of truck accidents include:

  • Improper lane changes, turns, backing up.
  • Failure to yield right of way - Commercial truck drivers are typically on tight delivery schedules. Pressure to meet deadlines provokes some truckers to cut corners and drive recklessly to save time.
  • Cargo shift - When freight is improperly packed into a trailer or other commercial vehicle, it can move around during transportation. Moving cargo can destabilize a semi-truck and cause a rollover, jackknife, or another type of truck accident. Overweight truck accidents are also often caused by improperly loaded cargo and an unstable trailer.
  • Inexperience - The national trucker shortage means freight transportation companies are hiring a lot of novice truckers. Driver inexperience raises the potential for accidents, the results of which can be devastating and fatal.
  • Tailgating and misjudging stopping distance - Due to their size and weight, trucks cannot stop as quickly as passenger vehicles. Even a properly maintained tractor-trailer going 55 mph on a dry surface needs a braking distance of at least 390 feet and about 4 seconds to come to a stop.
  • Defective equipment - Poorly made equipment can lead to disasters like blown tires and failed braking systems.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI or DWI) - Truckers are held to a higher standard for driving drunk or high. While the legal limit for everyday drivers is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), it is 0.04 for truckers.

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation

In Alabama, truck accident victims are entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. However, when a tractor-trailer or some other type of commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, getting the compensation you deserve can be complicated. That's because there are many parties that could be liable for your injuries - the trucker, trucking company, truck owner, parts manufacturer, cargo owner, etc.

None of them want to take responsibility, and all of them have lawyers to protect their interests. That's why you need an attorney to protect yours.

At Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, we have years of experience investigating truck accidents and can help you level the playing field. Some of our notable truck accident settlements and verdicts include $6.75 million for a fatal semi-truck accident in Mobile County and $4.75 million for a fatal semi-truck wreck in Butler County.

Our Alabama truck accident attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle every aspect of your claim and fight for the compensation you're entitled to. If you were injured or a loved one died in a truck wreck, contact us today for a free case evaluation. There are no obligations, and you pay nothing unless we win your case.

Don't hesitate ... Call Dean Waite!

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