Fourteen states now have a speed limit between 75 and 85 mph, and these higher speed limits present several problems when it comes to tractor-trailers and other big trucks. Of course, the faster you are going, the quicker your reaction time must be. In addition, higher speeds and the increased weight of trucks mean they need a greater stopping distance. But, while those problems may seem fairly obvious, there is also a hidden danger associated with higher speed limits.
Increased speeds generate higher temperatures for the truck’s tires. Higher temperatures affect a tire’s durability, wear and expected life. It is a simple fact: tires wear out faster with higher speeds and higher temperatures. Tires exposed to higher speeds will also develop an irregular wear pattern, and higher speeds also make it more likely for the tire to be damaged if it hits a pothole or debris in the roadway. Perhaps most alarmingly, truck tires are not even being tested at the higher speeds now permissible in some states.
And while higher speeds require adjustments to the weight of your load and the psi air pressure, many truck drivers and trucking companies do not make the necessary adjustments. For instance, the Tire and Rim Association guidelines state you should reduce your tire load rating by 4% for speeds of 65-70 mph. And, if you are planning on traveling over 70 mph, the adjustment must be 12%.
According to Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the net result of these higher speeds is an increased likelihood of a truck tire blowout, which could obviously lead to (1) a loss of control for the truck driver or (2) flying debris that could result in an accident for other motorists. As a result, NHTSA intends to push for speed regulators or governors for tractor-trailers and other big trucks to address this safety problem.
Of course, governors or speed regulators have been around for a long time. Some companies voluntarily choose to put them on the their truck fleet so that they can better ensure their drivers are operating at safe speeds. And, manufacturers can set maximum speeds via the vehicle’s electronic control module. The governor limits the speed by restricting air and fuel to the engine once the vehicle has reached the preset speed.
Each year, there are roughly 500,000 accidents involving trucks and almost 3,500 people die each year as a result of truck accidents. And, at the Law Offices of John Day, we routinely see the devastating effects these truck accidents have on so many Tennessee families. If you would like to discuss a truck accident case, one of our award-winning attorneys will be happy to review your accident, answer your questions and advise you of your legal rights in a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency basis so you are never out of pocket any money to pursue your legal rights.
To get started, just give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free). Or, if you prefer, you can contact us online.