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House Lawmakers Block Speed Limiter Mandate


On a voice vote, the House of Representatives voted to prohibit a proposed Department of Transportation rule which would have required truckers to install devices on their rigs that limit their speed.  However, the rule might already be dead.

Unlike the Electronic Logging Device mandate, the Speed Limiter Mandate is an agency rule and not a Congressional law, so it probably falls under the regulatory freeze which President Donald Trump imposed shortly after he took office.  Indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has already indicated that it would not push the SLM’s finalization.  Although the public comment period on the rule expired about a month before President Trump’s inauguration, the FMCSA has taken no further action on the measure.

The SLM would have restricted large trucks to either 60mph, 65mph, or 68mph, depending on the information the agency gathered during the comment period.

Fast Trucks

Technology exists to either prevent large trucks from exceeding a certain speed, automatically transmit such data to a designated recipient, or disable the ignition if the vehicle exceeds a certain speed so it will not re-start.  More than likely, due to safety concerns, the SLM would probably involve one of the latter two types of devices.

In many cases, big rig speeding is not much of a concern, as most truckers keep their speeds low not for safety reasons, but because large trucks are much more fuel-efficient at lower speeds.  However, if a driver is under pressure to deliver a load at a certain time, and that is nearly always the case, this concern often goes out the window.  After all, it is much cheaper to buy an extra few gallons of diesel fuel than it is to pay a penalty for a late delivery, or worse yet lose the account altogether.

Excessive speed is the leading cause of jackknife collisions.  Once the angle between the cab and the trailer reaches just 15 degrees, these incidents are almost impossible to prevent, even for experienced truck drivers.  Nationwide, jackknifing trucks cause over 5,000 serious vehicle collisions a year.

Legal Issues

Large truck operators and other commercial drivers, including taxi driver and most Uber drivers, are common carriers per Georgia law.  Whereas non-commercial drivers have a duty of care, common carriers have a duty of utmost care, and in fact, they are just a step short of insurers.

Because of this higher duty, it is easier to establish negligence in large truck wrecks.  For example, non-commercial drivers have a duty to slightly reduce speed during a rainstorm, and commercial drivers arguably have a duty to significantly reduce speed or perhaps even stop driving altogether until the storm passes.  Negligent truck drivers, as well as the shipping or transportation companies that pay or employ them, are usually responsible for both medical bills and other economic damages as well as emotional distress and other noneconomic damages.  In some cases, additional punitive damages are available as well.

A speeding large truck is one of the greatest hazards on Georgia roads.  For a free consultation, contact an experienced car accident lawyer Atlanta GA trusts.

Butler Tobin LawThanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into car accident and personal injury cases.

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Steve Harrelson
Steve Harrelson

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