Welcome to the second post in our 2017 blog series, Trucking Safety Tip of the Month. Last month, we touched on size regulations within the trucking industry. This month, we will discuss speed and the role it plays in traffic accidents.
Speeding and Stopping Distance
Did you know that a semi-truck takes about 535 feet to come to a complete stop, whereas a passenger vehicle takes only 316 feet? Such a disparity can be largely attributed to the difference in the weight of the vehicles.
Cars have an average weight of 5,000 pounds, whereas large trucks can weigh upward of 80,000 pounds. The heavier the vehicle, the greater the distance needed to make a complete stop.
Additionally, stopping distance increases as speed increases. So as you begin traveling at higher speeds, also increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.
Fatalities as a Result of CMV Drivers Speeding
The Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014 reported that 7.1 percent of fatal crashes involving a large truck were a result of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers speeding.
Of the 3,744 fatalities involving large trucks in 2014, 1,885 (50 percent) were at the fault of the CMV driver. Therefore, roughly 133 lives that could have been spared if CMV drivers had obeyed the speed limit in 2014.
Again, Truck Writers recognizes that roughly 80 percent of crashes involving a truck are caused by passenger vehicles. However, as our country works toward zero deaths, we need to work on also eliminating the other 20 percent.
Driving Below the Speed Limit
While speeding is often associated with straightaways, here are some other instances when you will want to slow down and drive below the posted speed limit:
- Driving in adverse weather conditions
- Entering a curve or sharp turn
- Entering an exit or entrance ramp
- Hauling a loaded trailer
- Driving in work zones
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