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ECMs May Become Mandatory – Will They Prevent Truck Accidents in Homestead and Other Cities?

According to some safety experts, Electronic Control Modules (ECMs), which are also known as speed limiters, can reduce the rates of fatal trucking collisions in Homestead and other cities. Speed limiters work by using electronic sensors that calibrate a truck’s speed and send the information to a computer in the engine. The limiters, also known as governors, can be set to a specific maximum speed. Once a truck reaches that limit, the engine’s computer limits the flow of fuel and air to the engine and prevents the truck from exceeding the pre-set speed.

Now, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is going to require the use of ECMs for some of the trucks on the country’s roads. In a new report, DOT revealed that some trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds and driving on roads with speeds of 55mph or more may be required to use the devices as early as October 2014.

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According to safety experts and supporters of the DOT mandate, ECMs could mean as many as 1,115 fewer fatal collisions each year. According to previous research, speed plays a major role in truck and car accidents in Homestead and other cities, with about 73 percent of heavy truck crash fatalities occurring on roads with speed limits of 55 mph. Research has shown that speeding trucks have much longer stopping distances and are more subject to rollover crashes as well as accidents. Many in the industry feel that reducing overall speeds is a good way to prevent fatalities.

Many groups are supportive of the DOT changes. Road Safe America (RSA) has suggested that all trucks made after 1990 be equipped with ECMs and the American Trucking Association (ATA) has stated that the speed limiters should be placed on all trucks. According to truck industry insiders, many heavy trucks are already equipped with the devices.

Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the NHTSA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that truck accidents in Homestead and across the country are actually less common than crashes involving passenger vehicles. However, heavy truck accidents are more likely to cause fatalities. Each year, about half a million heavy truck collisions occur across the country. According to the IIHS, in 2010 alone, 3,413 individuals suffered fatal injuries as a result of heavy truck crashes, an eight percent increase when compared with the year before. That year, although large trucks represented only 4% of the registered vehicles on American roads, these vehicles accounted for 9% of traffic accident fatalities.

Not everyone agrees with the DOT rules. Truck drivers and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have both spoken out against measures which would make speed limiters mandatory. The group claims that most truck accidents are caused by motorists driving passenger cars, so limiting speed for truck drivers will not lower accident rates. In addition, truck drivers and the OOIDA noted that limiting speed may actually be dangerous as it may not allow trucks to pass each other. They have pointed to studies showing that vehicles driving at differing speeds is what causes accidents, and since ECMs will not allow truck drivers to drive with the flow of traffic, they may potentially contribute to crashes.


If you have been injured due to a traffic or truck collision, get a free consultation about your case by contacting Flaxman Law Group today.