All drivers, especially professional, truck drivers, should know that speed limits exist to make travel safer for everyone on the road. Speeding or driving too fast for conditions in a tractor-trailer or other big truck can compound the danger that that these vehicles already present.
An 18 wheeler can weigh more than 80,000 pounds and carry cargo which is explosive, flammable or poisonous. Traveling in perfect conditions at 55 mph, it can take at least 290 feet and 7 seconds or more to stop. Stopping time, stopping distance and skid risk all rise as speed increases and traction decreases. Excessive speed is a common contributing factor in rear end truck accidents, probably the most common type of big truck wreck. Further, if a tractor-trailer is moving too fast and the driver is forced to brake too hard to avoid a collision, the trailer can jackknife with potentially disastrous results.
As speed and weight increase so does the force involved in a collision. Not surprisingly, the faster a truck is going when involved in a crash, the greater potential for fatalities. In short, speeding or driving too fast for conditions increases the chances of a crash, reduces the time and space a truck driver has to avoid a possible crash and increases the potential for severe injury or death.
Because of the significant additional potential for harm, drivers of large, heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks have an added responsibility to all other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road to take extra care to operate these large vehicles safely. Knowledgeable attorneys, for example, a skilled truck crash lawyer can use this theme to further emphasize the trucking company’s liability for truck wrecks caused by excessive speed.
Data from the Missouri State Patrol shows the impact of speeding or driving too fast for conditions on truck safety. The research identifies 12,796 Missouri truck accidents involving semis or other commercial motor vehicles for the sample year. 6.5% of these involved the commercial motor vehicles speeding or driving too fast for conditions.
Kansas data on speeding or driving too fast for conditions by tractor-trailers and other commercial motor vehicles is a little harder to locate. However, one of the interesting findings from Kansas Department of Transportation data is how widely the rate of speed related crashes varies between different Kansas cities. According to the research, for 2010, 727 of 3,397, or more than 21% of crashes in Kansas City, KS were speed related.
Reasons it Happens
Trucking companies and professional truck drivers know the dangers of excessive speed. Knowing how dangerous it can be to drive a tractor trailer or other big rig too fast, why do they do it? Truck drivers are often paid by the mile. The more miles they cover in an hour, the more money they earn. Also, due to traffic conditions or other circumstances, truck drivers can be behind schedule and try to make it up time by speeding.
Technology-Helpful or Not?
The use of citizens band (CB) radios to spot law enforcement and report to other truckers in the vicinity is legendary. Some truckers are also known to carry radar detectors in their trucks. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations prohibit this.
Technology, called a governor, is readily available to limit how fast a truck can be driven. Real time monitoring is also available so a trucking company can know the speed at which its trucks are operating. Unfortunately, despite this, truck wrecks due to speeding or driving too fast continue to kill and injure innocent people.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured, disabled, or killed in a truck wreck caused by a trucker speeding or driving too fast, call Flick Law Firm. We have the knowledge, resources and experience needed to successfully handle truck accident cases and have been doing so since 1995.