Since 2006, various organizations and community leaders have been urging the Department of Transport to mandate the use of Electronic Control Modules (ECM) on tractor trailers on U.S. roadways. These ECM devices are more commonly referred to as “speed limiters” and have the capability to limit the speed of heavy trucks to no more than a specified amount, most commonly suggested at 65-68 MPH. Jones & Swanson released a blog article in August of 2014 detailing speed limiters on large trucks, but the DOT has yet to implement these safety control systems. The original date scheduled for release of these truck speed limiters was August of 2011.
A recent south Georgia crash that took the lives of give Georgia Southern University students has led various Senate members to question why these truck speed limiters have not been executed. That crash led to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Total Transportation and its insurers, with claims that the 18 wheeler’s driver was traveling too fast and too close to the vehicle at the time of the crash. Senators question whether lives could have been spared in this crash, as well as many others throughout the years, had tractor trailers been installed with speed limiters years ago as suggested. In 2013 alone, federal data reveals 1,179 fatalities involving a large truck. 163 of those occurred in the state of Georgia.
The DOT itself has made statements claiming the minimal costs involved with equipping large trucks with speed limiters, especially when considering the decrease in number of big rig crashes as a result of the safety equipment. Many trucking fleets already make use of ECM devices in their trucks, but until it is a requirement by law, there is no way to guarantee trucks will not travel at unsafe speeds.
The attorneys at Jones & Swanson have represented many families of victims who were killed in tractor trailer accidents, as well as injured victims themselves. In comparison to large 18 wheelers, typical passenger vehicles are much smaller in size and weight. Because of the sheer differences, accidents involving tractor trailers and passenger vehicles are usually more dangerous to the smaller vehicles’ occupants. While speeding may not always be the cause of tractor trailer accidents, it is high on the list. Implementing truck speed limiters would significantly lessen the chances of big rig speeding accidents.
If you or someone you know were injured in an auto accident in which a tractor trailer driver was at fault, you may be able to hold them liable. For more information, contact our office today at (770) 427-5498 or on our website at www.awjlaw.com.