Do speed limiters decrease truck crash rates?

Passenger cars are no match for large vehicles, like trucks, when crashes occur. If death is going to occur in an accident between two unequally-sized vehicles, then the smaller vehicle’s occupants are the ones most likely to lose their lives. 

This sobering reality motivates the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large carriers and safety groups to continue advocating for legislation that makes safety measures mandatory for all commercial vehicles. These entities all argue that the installation of speed limiters on tractor-trailers, in particular, can enhance safety.

The question is, though, do these speed limiters actually work? 

How do speed limiters work?

A speed limiter or governor is an electronically controlled module (ECM) that limits a vehicle from traveling faster than a specific preset maximum speed. 

Existing research studies haven’t proven that speed limiters reduce traffic accidents. Some researchers concluded that speed variance could actually cause more auto collisions. These studies show that drivers who deviate from the average driving speed have a higher rate of traffic accidents than those that don’t. In other words, the slower or faster a vehicle travels corresponding to the flow of traffic around it, the greater its chances of involvement in a collision.

Critics of speed limiters argue that even though 21% of fatal large truck crashes are attributable to speed, limiters still aren’t an effective deterrent. They note that truck drivers tend to speed in slower zone areas to recoup time lost driving at a restricted speed. Those proponents estimate that a five-mile reduction in speed would cost truckers between 50-55 miles in productivity per day.

What can you do if a speeding trucker injures you?

Regardless of the debate over the usefulness of speed limiters, excessive speed still remains a major factor in serious truck accidents.New Hampshire law, fortunately, allows injured motorists to hold negligent drivers liable for their medical bills and other accident-related costs. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand more after hearing about the unique circumstances of your case.