Speed & Truck Drivers in America

Last updated on: November 15, 2011


America lags behind other nations in mandating speed-limiting governors
American truckers and trucking companies unite in the opposition to installation of speed-limiting governors on their mighty diesel machines. However, are these two doing so for the same reasons? Likely, the answer is no. Trucking companies are trying to protect their economic interests more so than being concerned with the safety of others. While their drivers are likely more concerned with job security.

Acknowledging the United States lags behind other countries in installation of these alleged “safety devices”, truckers, their professional organizations, and their employers say the lag is a good thing. They argue the United States can more efficiently and economically achieve major gains in trucking safety through aggressive driver training programs and deployment of other more sophisticated safety devices. Truckers naturally prefer advanced electronic equipment that gives them greater control over their trucks instead of reducing it.

Claims that Governors create as many issues as they solve are Incorrect.
Everyone knows speed kills and it is safer to drive slower but some truckers and trucking companies are under the false impression that speed limiting devices increase the number of ‘near misses’ between passenger automobiles and trucks, as well as between trucks and other trucks. They claim trucks impeded by governors trigger more incidents of “road rage” among motorists who have difficulty passing them on two-lane highways; and trucks with governors have trouble passing each other, so that drivers are more likely to compromise their following distances, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. Speed-limiting governors especially increase safety hazards on steep two-lane uphill grades, where traffic stacks-up behind slow trucks and impatient motorists risk reckless high-speed passing maneuvers that lead to head-on collisions but this is hardly a situation that can be blamed on speed limiting devices so we tend to doubt these claims at Zinda-Davis law firm.

Economic and political issues with governors
Further, because they do not rely on the training of drivers, everything about deployment of speed-limiting governors comes with safety at the forefront. It is hardly a case of economic consequences and political ramifications because these devices are easy to install and cost a minimal amount compared to the price of just one human life. Case in point, installing a standard speed-governor on a conventional diesel tractor costs approximately $500—an ostensibly small expense unless you are United Parcel Service, the world’s largest owner and operator of big-rigs, for which a full-fleet installation would cost approximately $30,000,000. For this reason, and because excessive speed factors into a large percentage of truck accidents, speed limiting governors falls in line with an era of rising fuel and insurance costs. UPS and other major commercial trucking companies can easily justify the cash outlay. The big companies struggle with the wisdom of installing governors. Another rebuttal of large trucking companies suggests because they have collected substantial data indicating governors cut fuel efficiency and drivers’ productivity without yielding marked improvements in safety that the United States should continue to forego mandating installations. Experts note major insurance companies remain reluctant to cut rates for trucks with speed-limiting governors, because insurance carriers cannot see convincing data to substantiate the claim that speed-limiting governors improve safety. Whether speed limiters will improve safety on American roadways is still open to debate.

The push for speed-limiting governors grates against the trucking industry’s political orientation, too. Like airlines and banks, the trucking industry has championed the cause of de-regulation, campaigning for fewer government restrictions and championing the idea that the industry will regulate itself according to prevailing forces in a free market. Consistent with truckers’ standing as “America’s twenty-first century cowboys”, they take a fiercely independent stand. As one thirty-year highway veteran observes, “No one told the Pony Express to slow its horses or Wells-Fargo to put the brakes on its stage coaches. Why does Big Brother want to put the brakes on America’s trucks? It’s not the American way.” Still, if you compare the horror of a single loved one lost in a fiery crash with a big rig you can understand that human life cannot be measured in terms of anything except the importance of safety on the open roads. To suggest that economic factors outweigh losing just one life remains an uneven discussion to that family who lost their loved one. One would think even truck drivers could understand the tremendous disadvantage their own family would be at if they failed to return home after a trip so to argue against safety measures is really in no one’s best interest.

Governing drivers in a depressed economy: The Issues
Trucker-advocates suggest safety officials and politicians may be blaming the victims for the crimes. Given the critical shortage of qualified big-rig drivers, and given the nation’s dependence on the trucking industry for transport of its goods, dedicated truckers face greater-than-ever pressure to push the limits and squeeze through trucking laws’ loop-holes for the sake of satisfying their employers’ demands and earning a decent living. They encourage the industry’s critics to re-examine the laws rather than the professionals who do their best to comply with them, stressing, “Yes, speed and driver impairment lead the list of truck-accident causes, but the drivers are not the people promoting the need for speed”. Instead, it is the companies employing truck drivers that must be penalized for pushing their employees beyond the logical and legal limits for economic gains. As proof, if you surveyed truck drivers regarding why they exceed the speed limits you will likely get this response. Most drivers admit they sometimes exceed the posted speed limits, complaining, “I cannot make my deadlines or fit my schedule into the HOS regulations unless I put the hammer down”.

IVBSS, the viable alternative
Truckers and insurance companies support development and deployment of Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) in preference to mandating governors. Researchers at the University of Michigan are leading this initiative with a “five-year cooperative research agreement to combine several crash warning subsystems–including forward collision, lane departure, lane change, and curve speed warning–into a single, integrated concept to enhance the safety of both passenger vehicles and heavy trucks.” Whereas long-distance drivers decry installation of governors because the speed-limiters compromise their professional judgment and limit their capacity for managing their tractors as circumstances warrant, truckers hail IVBSS as a meaningful advance precisely because it enhances their control over their vehicles, giving them vision in what used to be blind spots, and taking the guesswork out of routine speed calculations. Everyone agrees, however, that safety should be the first and foremost consideration and if you have been involved in an accident with a truck due to speed, negligence or simply poor driver training you need an experienced legal firm to protect your interests.

Hire an Experienced Law Firm that Puts Clients First
Because truck accidents generally cause catastrophic injuries and often leave victims permanently impaired or disabled, victims of truck accidents require far greater than usual compensation for their medical care, rehabilitation, and follow-up psychotherapy. Not surprisingly, truck drivers, their employers, and the insurance companies are reluctant to pay victims medical costs. Therefore, victims of truck accidents need an attorney who has prevailed in tough negotiations. Moreover, if the case goes to trial, accident victims need an attorney that have experience recovering damages from the responsible parties, sending a strong message to trucking companies that the community will not tolerate negligence or recklessness. To learn more about personal injury claims and to find out how you can obtain compensation for the injuries that you have sustained in a truck accident, Contact Zinda-Davis law firm of Austin, Texas and an attorney will make certain you get the settlement you deserve in the shortest possible time.