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Increased Speed Limits Could Be a Contributing Factor in Accidents
DALLAS (April 17, 2015) – Higher speed limits on many of the nation’s highways may be a contributing factor in truck accidents, the national law firm of Baron & Budd reports. Tires on big rigs are generally not equipped to handle sustained driving of more than 75 mph, and speed limits in 14 states have been increased to 75 and 80 mph, and in some cases 85 mph. The findings of an Associated Press report detailing the disconnect between highway speed limits and tire safety standards appeared in an article published March 31 in The Dallas Morning News.
According to the article, for about the last decade nearly all tires built for tractor-trailers have been designed for a maximum speed of 75 mph. These designs were developed at a time when nearly all highway speed limits were no more than 65-70 mph. However, the article also reported that some states increased speed limits without consulting anyone in the tire industry.
If a truck drives faster than a tire’s rated speed, excessive heat can build up that can lead to a blowout. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 14,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks or buses occurred from 2009-2013, killing nearly 16,000 people. According to the NHTSA, tires contributed to 198 of those fatal accidents, which resulted in 223 deaths.
The NHTSA states the best way to reduce the problem is to require every large truck to be equipped with a device that governs the vehicle’s speed and does not allow it to travel more than 75 mph. According to the article, another potential solution would be to require manufacturers to build tires that can more safely handle higher speeds.
However, there are several other reasons why truck accidents occur. These include driver fatigue, distracted driving, overweight trucks and many others. In many instances, drivers are under intense pressure to meet deadlines, and as a result they not only drive too fast, they also take too few breaks.
“While there seems to have been a lack of communication between some state legislators and trucking concerns regarding higher speed limits, trucking companies and manufacturers are still responsible for making sure their equipment is safe,” said Russell Budd, president and managing shareholder of the national law firm Baron & Budd. “They will need to be held accountable when they fail to meet that responsibility.”
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.