Anyone who's spent time navigating the roads and highways of America is well-aware of the dangers posed by large commercial vehicles. You've most likely felt a blast of wind threaten to push you aside as trucks pass, and few motorists are brave enough or foolish enough to pull up alongside these behemoths without being extra cautious.
Now lawmakers are taking notice. By trying to limit how fast vehicles like buses and trucks are permitted to travel, they hope to improve road safety. The real question is whether their proposed measures are going to be sufficient to help the thousands of individuals who suffer from accidents each year.
A Well-Known Danger
There are clear hazards associated with high-speed commercial transit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in 2014, 3,903 people died in crashes involving trucks. Around 111,000 individuals were injured in such incidents, and the vast majority were occupants of other vehicles.
In 2015, the Associated Press reported that some 14 states had established legal speed limits that allowed truckers to drive at or above 75 mph, the speed that most truck tires are actually rated for.
Five of these states permitted commercial travel in excess of 80 mph, and experts say that many of these laws were established without legislators being aware that they could increase the danger of truck tire blowouts and serious accidents.
Potential Regulatory Solutions
To combat the problem, on Aug. 26, 2016, the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed that vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds receive updates to their existing electronic speed regulators.
According to CBS Boston, these changes would make it impossible for truckers, bus drivers and other commercial operators to exceed a nationally uniform maximum speed, although regulators haven't yet decided exactly what that limit will be.
Stumbling Blocks To Safety
Unfortunately, the new law has been stalled in bureaucracy since as early as 2006. Truckers have also pushed back by arguing that the rule would create dangerous speed differences between them and other drivers. Even though the costs of the upgrade wouldn't make much of a dent in transit companies' pockets, lobbyists are sure to fight against more restrictive business operating standards.
In the end, the battle for safer roads has a long way to go. Truck accidents are bound to occur in the meantime, and their victims will continue to experience life-changing injuries and losses. For many, filing personal injury claims might be the best option for recovering compensation.