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The Pros and Cons of Speed Limiters To Lower Truck Accidents In Florida

According to recent statistics, 3,986 people were killed in commercial truck accidents in 2016, and only 17 percent of those people were the occupants of commercial trucks. In fact, a staggering 66 percent of all deaths involving commercial truck were drivers and passengers in other vehicles, and another 16 percent were pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists. And since 2007, there has been a 27-percent increase in the number of fatalities involving commercial trucks.Truck Accidents Lawyers

So it’s no surprise that the government has been trying to lower the number of truck accidents in the U.S., and one of the ways they have proposed to do that is by introducing speed limiters.

In August 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed that all commercial truck carriers install speed limiters in their vehicles.

This proposal has been met with a fair amount of debate between truck carriers, truck lobbyists and the government, and while the speed limiters remain only a possibility as opposed to an actual regulation, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of these devices as it relates to lowering truck accident rates.

What Are Speed Limiters and How Could They Lower the Number of Truck Accidents?

 Speed limiters are devices that prevent a vehicle from exceeding a preset speed limit. When the FMCSA made its proposal in 2016, it had not decided on a speed limit it felt would be appropriate, so it proposed three limits: 60 miles per hour, 65 mph and 68 mph.

When installed, speed limiters automatically keep a vehicle at the preset limit no matter what a driver does to increase that speed.

The FMCSA made the proposal because it has identified speed as one of the primary factors that causes commercial truck accidents.

In fact, the term ‘speeding of any kind’ has been one of the most significant factors in commercial truck accidents for the past decade, and that isn’t surprising, because when commercial truck drivers speed, several things happen, including:

  • They Lose Control – Truck drivers can quickly lose control of their vehicles when they exceed the posted speed limit. And a 26-ton truck that careens out of control can cause devastating damage when it hits smaller vehicles or even a pedestrian.
  • They Fail To Brake In Time – It takes much longer to bring a commercial vehicle to a stop than it does to bring a car or small truck to a stop. So when a truck driver is speeding, he or she often can’t brake in time to prevent a rear-end accident or some other type of impact on the road.
  • They Hit Other Vehicles With Greater Impact – Speeding also significantly increases the severity of impact when a commercial truck hits another vehicle. This often means that injuries caused by a speeding truck are much more severe than injuries caused by a truck that is traveling below the speed limit.

Because of these realities, the FMCSA believes that curbing the maximum speed of a commercial truck can help to lower situations that lead to fatal crashes.

IIHS Study Shows Link Between Speed Limits and Accidents

 And a study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has supported the FMCSA’s belief that excessive speed causes accidents.

The IIHS study found that if speed limits had remained where they were in 1993, 30,000 lives could have been saved from 1993 to 2013.

In other words, the IIHS found that as speed limits throughout the U.S. increased, there was also a corresponding increase in crashes that could directly or indirectly be attributed to speeding.

Speed limiters could provide a technological barrier to the tendency of commercial truck drivers to speed in an effort to meet strict delivery deadlines, and create a culture in which those drivers learned to maintain a reasonable and safe speed.

The Debate About the Pros and Cons of Speed Limiters

 Since the FMCSA proposed its speed limiter regulation, there has been fierce debate on both sides of the issue.

The Owner-Operated Independence Drivers Association (OOIDA), one of the premier commercial truck organizations, does not believe that speed limiters are the answer to lowering the rate of truck accidents.

OOIDA spokespersons argue that speed limiters would create speed differentials that could cause even more accidents.

Speed differentials refers to the difference in traveling speed between vehicles on the road. The OOIDA argues that commercial trucks with speed limiters would travel at a lower speed than other vehicles on the road, and that these differentials would create more crashes.

The FMCSA countered that argument by saying that speed differentials already exist, and that the installation of speed limiters would save thousands of lives and also save more than $1 billion in fuel costs every year.

And seven states have already set lower speed limits for commercial trucks, which the FMCSA believes points to the value of restricting the speed of these vehicles.

As of now, however, the new presidential administration has shown no interest in bringing the speed limiter proposal to a formal hearing, so the proposal remains stalled unless a government  official breathes new life into it.

Finding An Advocate For Your Personal Injury 

While the debate over the effectiveness of speed limiters continues to rage between truck carriers and the government, commercial truck drivers are still causing devastating accidents that leave both physical and psychological scars. If you have been injured in an accident in which a commercial truck driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, and your pain and suffering. But it’s important that you secure representation as soon as possible, because the more time that passes, the more time that truck carrier’s insurance company can mount a case against you. The Law Team of Fetterman & Associates has been helping personal injury clients for more than 40 years. Please call us today at 561-845-2510 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Additional Reading

Dangerous Myths About Truck Accidents

Distracted Driving Leads to Personal Injury

What are the Florida Cell Phone and Driving Laws?

Driving Law LawyerThe driving laws related to cell phone usage in the state of Florida are somewhat lax compared to other areas in the U.S. While it is legal to use the phone while driving, you still have to ask yourself whether or not this is something you should do. After all, you have likely seen other drivers with their phones stuck to their ears, trying to change lanes and swerving hear and there. The fact is, doing this simply isn’t safe. One of the top causes of accidents in the state of Florida is distracted drivers.

Distracted Driving Laws in Florida

The state of Florida has defined distracted driving as anything that is going to take your mind off of the road, eyes away from the road or hands off the wheel. Since 2012, the number of distracted driving accidents have increased by more than 25 percent.

Distractions include the following:

  • Using the phone
  • Texting
  • Reaching for a device
  • Pets
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to others in the vehicle
  • Daydreaming

While the law in Florida has not put limitations on the use of cell phones while driving, there is a limited ban on text messaging. According to the law, drivers are now permitted to read, type or send texts while they are behind the wheel. However, if they do any of these actions while driving, they may be charged with a violation they committed before texting.

When Do the Driving Laws State You Can Receive a Ticket for Using a Device Behind the Wheel?

The police are only able to pull you over and give you a ticket in Florida if they witnessed you commit some other type of violation prior to texting. An example of this would be if you were distracted and happened to run a stop sign. The police officer is able to pull you over for running the stop sign, but not just for texting. However, if you are caught texting when you are pulled over, then points are going to be added to your license for this action.

Points for Texting According to Florida’s Driving Laws

The point schedule for texting and driving are as follows:

  • First offense: No points will be added to your license
  • School zone: If you are pulled over for any type of violation and have been caught texting while you are in a designated school zone, then two points are going to be added to your license.
  • Texting resulting in a crash: If the incident results in an accident then you are going to have six points added to your driver’s license.

For example, if a police officer pulls you over for speeding in a school zone, while you are texting, and you are involved in an accident, then you will have a total of eight points applied to your license. It is a good idea to keep from being on your phone, because you can accumulate quite a few points for these situations.

How Florida Helps You Avoid Breaking these Important Driving Laws

When you are driving through the state, you may begin to see signs that remind you to pull into a safe location for you to use your phone. There are areas that are referred to as “Safe Phone Zones,” which were started in June of 2015 to help prevent cases of distracted driving.

If you are ever involved in an accident with someone texting while driving, then you may need legal help. Contact the team of attorneys from Fetterman & Associates by calling 561-845-2510.

Additional Reading

Car Accidents Considered Top Cause of TBI in the U.S.

How to Avoid an Auto Accident with a Self-Driving Car

Dangerous Myths About Truck Accidents

One of the most common ways for a business to get their goods from state to state is with large commercial trucks. While these types of trucks are great for transporting goods, they can also pose a risk to other drivers on the roadways of America. Each year, there are thousands of truck accidents and many of them lead to fatalities. Being involved in a collision with a large commercial truck can be catastrophic.

Truck Accidents

For those who are lucky enough to survive these accidents, dealing with the damage that occurs can be a bit difficult. If you are injured in a trucking accident, reaching out to a legal professional is your best course of action. With a lawyer’s guidance, you will be able to figure out whether or not the case you have is worth pursuing. Here are some of the most common myths most people have regarding truck accidents.

Myth #1: There is No Way to Prevent Truck Accidents

Among the most common myths that most people have regarding truck accidents is that there is no way to prevent them. The reality is there are a number of things a truck driver can do to make their rig safer while on the road. One of the main things a truck driver will need to keep an eye on when trying to stay safe is the maintenance their rig requires. Failing to do things like change out damaged braking components or worn out tires can be very problematic. The longer a truck driver goes without doing proper maintenance to their rig, the more danger they will be putting themselves and the other motorists on the road in.

Myth #2: Truck Accidents are Always Fatal

While there are a number of truck accidents each year that result in fatalities, there are many others that just cause injury and damage to the vehicles involved. These types of accidents run the gamut from being quite severe to very mild. Many factors dictate just how severe the damage done in these types of accidents. If the truck driver is distracted and barreling down the road at a breakneck pace, it will usually end in a lot of damage being done. The best thing a motorist can do when trying to steer clear of these types of catastrophic accidents is to keep their eyes peeled for any signs of danger. If you see a big rig swerving in and out of traffic, it is probably best to pull over and let them pass.

Myth #3: New Regulations Will Help to Prevent Truck Accidents

There are a number of new laws regarding how trucking companies should maintain their fleet, but they will not completely eliminate the risk of truck accidents. In recent years, laws passed regarding the number of hours a trucker could drive without resting have driven the number of fatigue-related crashes down a bit. A lot has been done to make the roadways safer for truckers and other motorists, but many experts believe there is still a long way to go when it comes to eliminating the risks of truck accidents.

If you have been injured in a truck accident and need legal assistance, contact our team of attorneys at Fetterman & Associates by calling (561) 845-2510.

Additional reading

Distracted Driving Leads to Personal Injury

Driver Error is the Most Dangerous Behavior for Car Accident Personal Injury Claims

Highway Safety: 5 Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents

It is a no-brainer that truck accidents can cause rather devastating and lasting injuries.

truck accidents

According to a report issued by the United States Department of Transportation, close to 3,964 people died and over 95,000 were injured in crashes that involved commercial and other large trucks in the year 2013. However, like most other accidents, truck accidents can be prevented. Listed below are a few tips to avoid truck accidents.

Driving Tips to Help Prevent Truck Accidents

Once you have managed to pass the driving training program and your company gives you the keys to drive your own rig, you are bound to be faced with a set of challenges. This is why we have put together a few pointers that will help you start out on your own as a solo driver.

  • Move Slowly: You are now a professional truck driver. But, this doesn’t mean you can start racing on the roads. The very first rule is to take your time and to do whatever you are doing not just methodically, but also safely. Whether you are pulling in or out of a yard, coming or going from a quick truck stop, or backing your truck into a loading truck – move slowly.
  • Be Thorough and Double Check: Ensure that you have covered all your bases and there is absolutely nothing that you are forgetting while backing out or executing a wide turn – even on a highway. Even experienced truck drivers often fail to check blind spots and conduct a complete circle check. Keep your eyes glued to your entire vehicle while reversing on a highway to be sure there are no obstacles.
  • Do not Trust Your Spotter Blindly: If you have a spotter, remember that 9 out of 10 times, he is watching only one part of your truck. It is likely that he is not looking out for overhead clearance or watching your front right corner. Though his intentions may be good, it is best that you do not trust him blindly. Get out of your truck every now and then to have a look for yourself, especially if you are blindsiding in, when there is the risk of a truck accident.

Driving Tips for Other Vehicles

Most commercial trucks have larger blind spots than a traditional passenger vehicle. Though it is not possible to totally avoid blind spots, you must make an effort to limit your time in a blind spot, when the risks of a truck accident are high.

Most experienced truck drivers are very cautious when turning. But, if you are driving in a blind spot for a very long time, the driver may not know you are there. If you think you are in a blind spot, look for the truck’s mirrors. If you cannot see the person behind the wheel, it is likely that he cannot see you too.

Trucks also need a lot more time to slow down due to their size. If you pull in right in front of a truck on a highway and brake, the driver may not be able to bring his vehicle to a halt to avoid a rear end collision. When you change lanes on a highway, be sure to communicate with the truck driver sharing the road of your intentions, and also check your blind spot before you merge.

It takes just a little common sense to avoid careless accidents. But, accidents do happen. If you or somebody you know has been in a truck accident and sustained grievous injuries, be sure to contact a reliable and solid truck accident attorney at Fetterman & Associates to discuss your case. Call us at 561-845-2510 today for a free consultation.

Additional Reading:

Truck Accidents: Who is Liable?

Accident with a Truck: How Much Can You Sue?

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