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Proposed Rule Could Save More Than 1,000 Truck Accident Deaths Yearly

Improved technology has been a driving force behind improvements in highway safety. The total number of car and truck accident fatalities has steadily dropped over the decades with the advancements in safety technology, including improved brakes and air bags. Fewer accidents occur per mile driven and people are more likely to survive if they do suffer an accident. In addition to technology improvements, the trucking industry has been made safer by legislation and new rules. Despite these efforts, heavy truck accidents have recently begun to rise. These accidents are more likely than other vehicle crashes to cause a fatality.

The Department of Transportation has proposed a new rule that would require the use of Electronic Control Modules by certain trucks. The proposal combines technology with rulemaking authority in an attempt to reduce the number of deadly truck accidents on U.S. highways. The modules, also known as speed limiters, are already installed in many heavy trucks. The rule would require their use on all trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds in use on roads with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or more. Safety experts estimated that 1,115 truck accident deaths could be prevented every year by expanded use of the limiters.

The proposed rule has not yet named the top speed at which large trucks would be allowed to travel. Similar proposals made in the past had a limit of 68 mph. If passed, the rule could take effect as soon as this upcoming October.

Source: Claims Journal, "Fed to Require Speed Limiters on Trucks," by Gary Wickert, 1 May 2014

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