At a time when it seems like members of Congress can’t reach across the aisle to accomplish just about anything, two U.S. senators, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, have introduced a bill they would increase the safety of large commercial trucks on our highways and interstates.
For a decade now, a rule that would require “speed limiters” has gone nowhere amid the bureaucracy of the federal government. The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 would require all new trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds to have these devices and to have them set at no more than 65 miles per hour at all times. Trucks already on the road that have the technology must use it. However, trucks that don’t have the technology won’t be required to have it installed.
The bill is named after a young man who was killed in 2002 as he was driving back to college after Thanksgiving break. The car that he and his brother were in was struck by a tractor-trailer. His family founded an advocacy group called Road Safe America.
That group and other safety advocacy groups are strongly endorsing the legislation. Owings’ father says that at the time of the crash, the family was “unaware that speed limiters were already being built into big-rig trucks as a standard capability, but American truck drivers were not required to use them.”
One of the lawmakers behind the bill, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, says, “The majority of trucks on our roads already have speed-limiting technology built in, and the rest of the technologically advanced world has already put them to use to ensure drivers follow safe speeds. This legislation would…reduce the number of preventable fatalities on our busy roadways.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation says that requiring the use of speed limiters would reduce the number of fatal crashes (estimated at over 1,100 annually) involving heavy trucks.
Attorneys help victims of commercial truck crashes and surviving loved ones determine whether the truck involved was in compliance with all current safety regulations. When companies and/or their drivers fail to comply with the law, they can face penalties in addition to civil action by victims and families.