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US federal regulators propose new speed restrictions

Federal regulators from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA") and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") proposed a new rule that would require all new vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds be equipped with speed governors. A speed governor would automatically and forcibly prevent any vehicle so equipped from exceeding a pre-set speed limit.

Regulators are considering caps of 60, 65 or 68 mph. The proposed regulation would only affect newly-constructed trucks. However, regulators have not ruled out extending the provision to encompass all vehicles.

NHTSA and FMCSA argue that controlling truck speeds could significantly curb the more than 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks and save over $1 billion a year in fuel expenses. The regulations have supporters and detractors. The proponents argue that many states adopt speed limits which exceed the maximum safety speed allowed for heavy truck tires. These rules would ensure that bus and truck drivers adhere to the speeds to which their vehicles and tires were designed.

Detractors argue that lower speeds are dangerous because it forces more car-truck interactions. Cars, which drive faster than 60, would be compelled to maneuver around the slow-moving trucks. But some detractors say that 68 mph is manageable because it is close to the average speed, which is 70 mph.

Bus accidents, while uncommon, do still happen. If you or a loved one was injured while riding a bus, you may want to speak to a lawyer, you could have an actionable claim for damages. Insurance companies are incentivized to lower the amount they pay you by as much as possible. A lawyer can equip you with the knowledge to ensure that no one from the insurance company can take advantage of you.

Source: Associated Press, "US wants to force lower speeds on truck and bus drivers," Tom Krisher, August 26, 2016

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