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Speeding & Truck Accidents

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Personal Injury

According to FMCSA crash data, speeding has consistently been identified as the most common driver-related factor in fatal accidents involving large trucks—both for truck drivers, as well as the drivers of passenger vehicles. While passenger-vehicle drivers account for approximately 20% of speeding-related truck accidents, compared with truck drivers at about 8%, we must also take into consideration that there are over 25 times more registered passenger vehicles than there are large trucks. Even when accounting for the variations of vehicles types on a roadway at a given time, what these figures tell us is that the correlation between speeding truck drivers and large truck crash fatalities is a serious problem in our nation.

The vision of a speeding semi barreling down the roadway, is an image than many of us, unfortunately have become all too familiar with. A speeding passenger vehicle is dangerous—but a speeding semi-truck is simply treacherous. The visual limitations, stopping capacity, weight and size, susceptibility to jackknifing or roll-over, and other characteristics of large trucks, make speeding while operating a large truck a deadly combination. It is not as if truckers are unaware of the destructive capabilities of their massive vehicles—commercial truckers must undergo special training in order to obtain the endorsements necessary to drive a large truck.

So, why then, do many truck drivers still choose to speed, even though they are clearly aware of the dangers?

This is where passenger vehicle drivers and truck drivers can vary—-passenger vehicle drivers speed for a number of reasons—thrill/ enjoyment; impairment; getting somewhere quicker; and in some cases, even unawareness of their traveling speed. Truck drivers that speed, on the other hand, generally do so for one reason only—to get from one destination to another in the shortest period of time possible. In essence, drivers that speed, and the trucking companies that allow this to occur despite being aware of the risks and consequences, are putting their own financial, economic, and business interests ahead of the safety of others.

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The issue of speeding in the trucking industry can be likened to the issue of fatigued driving. Both are dangerous practices that typically serve a self-motivating purpose—prompt transport over public safety. In order to reach a destination more quickly, truck drivers can either drive faster, or continue driving (even if they are drowsy and/or violating hours-of-service regulations).

For some commercial truckers, the risk of violating service hour and rest period rules, or getting caught for falsifying log-books, makes speeding the preferred risk. Commercial truckers are well aware of the severity-classifications for particular violations, and will often use this to their advantage. For example, truck drivers know that they can travel within a certain range over the speed limit, and even if they were to be cited for speeding, such violation would be considered less severe than an hours-of-service or record falsification violation. The fact of the matter is that operating a large truck at any speed beyond the posted limit is dangerous.

The Gainesville Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represent the victims of truck accidents. While seeking the maximum amount of financial compensation for persons harmed by negligent or reckless truckers, remains our primary goal—we also feel that imposing liability on truck drivers, and the companies that employ these individuals, also helps to spread the word that this type of recklessness will not be tolerated. Speeding truckers put everyone that shares the roadway at risk. By holding them accountable for their actions, we can all play a role in promoting safety awareness and, hopefully, reducing fatal trucking collisions as well.