Speeding Trucks

Dangers and Accidents Caused by Speeding Semi-Trucks

Speeding semi trucks is a serious risk to the motoring public and is one of the primary causes of 18-wheeler accidents in Texas. The trucking industry and truck drivers are aware of the dangers caused by speeding, yet the practice continues to plague roads across the nation. FMCSA data shows that over 110,000 speeding tickets were issued to truck drivers in 2017.  Studies show that approximately 26% of drivers stopped for speeding receive a warning, making the number of enforced stops roughly 140,000. And this does not count the number of warnings given and obviously does not account for speeding rigs that were missed by law enforcement.

If you were injured in a truck accident where the truck driver was speeding or driving too fast for road or weather conditions, you can bring a lawsuit against the trucker and the trucking company and recover compensation caused by their negligence. Truckers must maintain safe operating speeds at all times to protect the motoring public from preventable crashes. To determine and prove a truck driver was negligent and driving faster than reasonably prudent, you need the help of lawyers focusing on truck accident litigation and lawsuits. Since trucks are subject to rules that are unique to the commercial trucking industry, you need an attorney that knows and understands these rules.

Call or contact us online to learn how we can help you prove the truck driver was speeding and how we can help you recover full compensation under the law. We do not charge you for our services if we cannot help you win your case. 

FREQUENTLY Asked Questions

  • What speed should truck drivers operate their trucks?

    Posted speed limits by state and local governments must be adhered to by truck drivers. However, truck drivers are subject to additional rules regarding speed that must be followed. For instance, the FMCSA makes it illegal for truck drivers to travel too fast for conditions. Examples of conditions that require truckers to exercise greater caution and reduce their speed include wet and snowy roadways, reduced visibility, uneven roads, construction zones, and heavy traffic, among others.

    Violating FMCSA regulations is a breach of law and may subject a trucker to civil liability for injuries caused in an accident.

  • How do you know a truck driver was speeding?

    It is difficult to determine at the time of a crash the speed of the motorists involved. However, onboard computers and other electronic control devices affixed to modern vehicles provide details of a truck’s speed before a collision. After filing a lawsuit against a trucking company, trained truck accident attorneys will request to inspect the truck and download the electronic information needed to determine the speed of the truck and the actions taken by the truck driver before the crash.

  • What if both vehicles involved in a crash were speeding?

    It is not uncommon for two or more motorists to be involved in a crash where more than one party did something wrong. This does not preclude the injured motorists from recovering compensation for their injuries, per se. Under Texas’s comparative negligence law, injured motorists that are less than 50% responsible can still recover compensation for their injuries. A trained truck accident lawyer can position a case to reduce fault on their client while increasing fault on the offending parties.

Speeding is one of the leading contributors to fatal accidents. In 2020, speeding was a factor in 29% of all fatal traffic accidents, leading to over 11,000 deaths. While all motor vehicles are at an increased risk of danger while speeding, semi-trucks have a higher risk of accidents in at least three ways.

Speeding Increases an 18-Wheeler’s Stopping Distance

Due to the size and weight of a tractor-trailer, especially a fully loaded one, big rigs require greater stopping distance than standard passenger vehicles. A fully loaded semi-truck traveling 65 mph requires approximately 525 feet to come to a complete stop, over twice the distance of a standard passenger vehicle that can stop within 200 feet. For every additional MPH, trucks require roughly 10 feet of additional stopping distance, the length of a Mini Cooper.

Speeding trucks are routinely involved in three types of accidents:

  • Rear-end collisions – Speed is one of the primary factors leading to rear-end collisions
  • Rollover crashes – Speeding trucks that lack sufficient time to make a complete stop are more likely to take evasive action, leading to rollover accidents that can seriously injure the trucker and surrounding motorists.
  • Jackknife accidents – Abrupt braking increases the risk of tires locking up or loads shifting, two primary causes of a truck jackknifing.

Since travel speed is entirely within the driver’s control, no driver is excused from harm caused by such actions.

Speeding Increases the Distance Traveled Between Perception and Action

Perception and reaction time increase with speed. The faster you go, the more distance you travel before you can react. Reaction time is largely situational and depends on the person and conditions. Nevertheless, standard reconstruction analysis often places reaction time at 1.5 seconds. At 1.5 seconds, a vehicle traveling 65 MPH will cover 142 feet before the driver acts. That is roughly the length of 10 standard-sized vehicles.

Considering reaction time and stopping distance together highlights the serious risk of danger posed by speeding.

  • A truck traveling 65 MPH will require approximately 667 feet to come to a complete stop—142 feet traveled before engaging brakes and another 525 feet to come to a complete stop.
  • A truck traveling 70 MPH will require approximately 728 feet to come to a complete stop—153 feet traveled before engaging brakes and another 575 feet to come to a complete stop.

A truck traveling 70 MPH in a 65 MPH zone will require an additional 61 feet to stop, approximately four and a half standard-length vehicles.

Speeding Reduces Driver Control Over a Semi-Truck

Control over a vehicle is reduced with speed. This is especially true on turns, curves, and uneven roads. According to a 2005 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, forty percent of speed-related fatalities occur on a curve.

Government agencies carefully study speed limits to ensure posted limits account for changing road conditions. However, speed limits on curves and uneven roads are posted with passenger vehicles in mind. Truck drivers must reduce their speed below posted limits to safely navigate curves, uneven roads, and changing road conditions.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration directs commercial operators to reduce speed in adverse road and weather conditions, work zones, and curves—including on and off ramps, which account for over twenty percent of all truck crashes. Failure to exercise reasonable caution may constitute negligence and subject the driver and company to liability.

What is a Safe Speed for Trucks to Drive?

A safe speed for trucks to drive depends on many factors. A truck driver may think that traveling the speed limit is a safe and reasonable speed, but this is not always the case. Driving conditions, including traction, curves, visibility, traffic, weather, and hills, affect the speed a trucker can safely travel.

In fact, under Texas law, a driver must not travel at speeds greater than that of a reasonable and prudent driver under the given conditions. Section 545.351(1) of the Texas Transportation Code allows an officer to ticket a driver if their speed is deemed unreasonable for the given conditions. Truckers must take appropriate precautions to avoid traveling too fast for conditions to ensure the safety of themselves and the motoring public.

Legal Remedies Available to Victims of Truck Accidents

Like all personal injury claims, victims of preventable accidents can recover compensation for harm caused by others’ negligence. Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions constitutes negligence. If a trucker is cited by authorities for speeding, such actions are generally deemed negligent per se, meaning the trucker’s actions are presumed negligent, and the injured victim is only required to prove the negligent conduct caused the injuries complained of.

On the other hand, a trucker that is not cited for speeding may be negligent if the law determines the driver was traveling at an unsafe speed. Proving an accident was caused by unsafe speed requires an investigation of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash. Consulting with trained semi-truck accident attorneys experienced in complex cases provides injury victims the best opportunity to recover fair compensation in disputed liability truck cases.

We fight for clients across Texas. Let us help you win your case by calling or filling out a form online.

  • “If you have a complicated products liability matter or really ANY complex matter, Rob will devote the resources necessary to sort it out and get the best possible result for the client.”

    – Louis H., Referral Attorney

  • “Rob fought for me like no man has fought for me. The Ammons Law Firm is a law firm that seeks out justice and righteousness for those who have suffered, and I can now move forward in my life.”

    – Joe C., Former Client

  • “We had a wonderful experience working with the Ammons Law Firm. The office staff was always courteous and prompt in responding. Rob’s expertise in our case was quickly evident and our trust in him …”

    – Anne P.

  • “I can say with confidence that The Ammons Law Firm is the very best.”

    – Former Client

  • “The Ammons law firm has a great number of wonderful and hardworking lawyers. They did an amazing job with my case.”

    – Jose Angel M.

  • “I was truly amazed by Mr. Ammons’ presentation and knowledge of the case. He and his team were well-prepared and had everything they needed to present the case. They had great exhibits. It was very …”

    – Teressa H., Former Client

Our Firm Will Fight for Your Right to Compensation
  • We Wrote the Book on Tire Defect Litigation

    Attorney Rob Ammons has not only handled some of the most complex tire defect cases but also wrote the book on how to properly litigate these types of cases.

  • Team Approach to Handling Each & Every Case

    Unlike smaller law firms, we have the resources necessary to tackle even the most complex cases. To ensure our clients get the best possible results, we hire industry experts and other professionals to advise on any complex legal issues.

  • Over a Billion Dollars Recovered for Our Clients

    Our seasoned legal professionals have handled some of the largest personal injury claims nationwide and have a strong track record of favorable outcomes.

Let Us Help You
(281) 801-5617 or fill out the form below to contact our team.

    Skip to content