If a proposed regulation issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is enacted, then truck and bus drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country will have their speeds capped at a lower rate than that of other vehicles. It has been a decade since a nonprofit group, Roadsafe America, first suggested the lower speeds. The group was founded by a couple whose son was killed in 2002 by a tractor-trailer that was exceeding the speed limit.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association has opposed the proposal. According to one spokeswoman, the speed differentials that will be created are dangerous. However, in 2015, the Associated Press found that several states had set speed limits for trucks that were above the safety limit for tires. Since states have the authority to set their own speed limits, most were unaware of the tire limits.
The new law will apply to new vehicles with a weight higher than 26,000 pounds. According to the government, heavy trucks are involved in more than 1,100 fatal crashes annually, and the lower speeds should reduce that number. The proposals are available for public comment for 60 days, and afterward, the government agencies will decide whether to implement the rule and what the new speed limit will be.
Injuries from a truck accident may be serious. A person who is injured in a truck accident might want to speak to an attorney because the insurance company might make a low compensation offer that does not cover medical expenses or wages lost from missing work. The truck driver's employer might also be liable. A civil court will consider whether or not the responsible party or parties were negligent due to actions such as driving while drowsy or distracted.