Truck Speed Limiter Devices Delayed Under Trump

As of fall 2016, US officials in Washington DC had agreed to a proposal to require speed-limiting devices on all US tractor trailers. But that proposed has been delayed by President Trump.

Sideswipe truck accident kills 1.

While victims’ families have called the proposed regulation a ‘safety slam dunk,’ Trump has shown a strong willingness to delay and restrict regulations that he thinks could harm business activity. Trump has vowed to reduce what he calls unnecessary regulations that can reduce profits and business hiring.

The order that Trump signed in January 2017 mandates that federal agencies kill two existing rules for every new one proposed. It also caps what new regulations can cost, even when they are backed by the public, lawmakers, and stakeholders in the industry.

Experts noted this week that at the Department of Transportation, the regulatory process has been almost ground to a halt. This has forced delays of implementation of proposed rules that had been agreed to after years of negotiation.

The speed-limiting device for trucks rule, which is already required in most countries, would likely save hundreds of lives per year, would reduce fuel use, and could offer $6 billion in other benefits per year, according to DOJ. 

If the truck speed restriction rule is to have any chance of being finalized, agencies will need to figure out how to save billions by chopping other regulations.

Under the various transportation agencies that regulate trucks, automobiles, rail, highway, and airlines, there are 34 proposed rules that affect safety that have to be justified under Trump’s order.

One of the most potentially expensive transportation safety measures would be the truck speed limiter rule. It was proposed in 2007 by the Bush administration when a speeding truck smashed into a 22-year-old’s car when he was stopped at a Virginia traffic light. He died instantly.

Some proponents of the safety measure understand the desire to get rid of wasteful regulations, but they argue that the life-saving possibilities with this rule would far outweigh the costs.

Our View

Our work as tractor trailer personal injury lawyers have told us over the years that most deaths in tractor trailer crashes are occupants of passenger cars, trucks and SUVs. In 2015, 3852 people died in tractor trailer wrecks. It is likely that deaths and serious injury could be reduced if tractor trailers were not able to exceed a certain speed limit, such as 60 MPH.

Our personal injury attorneys would like to see speed limiting devices on tractor trailers so that there are fewer personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits each year.