Mark Roman | March 21, 2023 | Truck Accidents
The maximum speed a commercial truck can safely travel on highways depends on several factors. A truck driver not paying attention to the conditions could cause a catastrophic truck accident.
Speed limits are set based on ideal situations. In other words, the maximum speed limit is based on clear weather, good road conditions, and excellent visibility. Drivers should adjust their speeds for adverse changes in conditions.
A speeding truck can cause numerous types of accidents, including:
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Jackknife accidents
Commercial truck drivers must be very cautious. Changes in road and weather conditions could significantly reduce stopping distance and increase the time it takes to come to a complete stop. The driver has a duty to judge the conditions and reduce the truck’s speed to reduce the risk of truck accidents caused by speed.
What Are the Speed Limits in Florida?
The Florida Department of Transportation sets speed limits on state highways. The maximum speed limits authorized by the Florida Legislature are:
- 70 mph on interstates
- 65 mph on a divided highway with four lanes that is not in an urban area
- 60 mph on other state highways
Therefore, a commercial truck’s maximum speed on an interstate in Florida is 70 mph. However, in some circumstances, the Florida DOT might set lower limits that apply to commercial trucks.
Also, Florida’s unlawful speed statute prohibits a person from driving on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent. The speed is determined by the conditions and any actual or potential hazards existing at that time.
When Does a Commercial Truck Need To Slow Down?
A truck driver should never drive a commercial truck over the posted speed limit. However, there are instances when the driver should reduce the truck’s speed for safety reasons. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) provides guidance for truck drivers on when they need to slow down.
Traveling at a speed greater than the speed for safe driving is considered driving too fast for the conditions. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study revealed that 23% of truck accidents occurred when the driver was traveling too fast.
Common circumstances and situations that require a truck driver to maintain a safe speed which could be lower than the posted speed limit include, but are not limited to:
Adverse Weather and Road Conditions
About one-fourth of speeding truck accidents occurred during adverse weather conditions. A driver should reduce their speed by 1/3 on wet roads. The roads can be incredibly slippery when it first begins to rain.
Traveling Through a Curve
Curves pose another danger when large trucks speed around the turn. Entering curves over the posted speed limit can result in a rollover accident because the truck driver loses control of the vehicle in the curve. Roughly 40% of speeding-related deaths occur on curves.
Driving with a Loaded Trailer
A fully loaded trailer is ten times more likely to roll over than an empty trailer. Stopping takes 20 to 40 percent more distance than passenger vehicles. Therefore, drivers should reduce speeds when traveling with a loaded trailer.
Using Exit and Entrance Ramps
Even though ramps and interchanges account for just 5% of the highway miles trucks travel, about 20 to 30 percent of large truck crashes occur near ramps. Typically, a commercial truck’s safe exit and entrance ramp speed is slower than the posted speed limit, which applies to passenger vehicles.
Other Traffic Conditions That Require Trucks to Slow Down
In addition to the above, other situations that could require truck drivers to reduce the truck’s speed to maintain safety include:
- Congested traffic
- Hills and inclines
- Construction and work zones
- Uneven roads
- Vehicle mechanical issues
- Unfamiliar roads
- Areas with high pedestrian traffic
- Urban areas and business districts
- Conditions causing low visibility
Almost one-third of the injuries and deaths in large truck accidents are people in other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A truck driver who does not slow down for conditions could be liable for economic and non-economic damages from a truck accident. However, the trucking company and other parties could share liability for damages.
What Should I Do After a Tampa Semi-Truck Accident?
Generally, large truck accidents cause traumatic injuries. Therefore, you will likely be transported to the hospital from the accident site. If you do not go to the emergency room, see a doctor as soon as possible to document your injuries.
The trucking company and its insurance provider will quickly step in to investigate the cause of the crash. Then, they’ll take steps to reduce their liability for claims.
Hiring a Tampa truck accident lawyer means you have someone on your side to protect your best interests. An attorney begins an immediate investigation to gather and preserve evidence proving how the truck accident happened. Your lawyer handles all communication with other parties so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Truck accident claims are complicated personal injury cases. They often involve commercial trucking regulations, multiple parties, catastrophic injuries, and expert witnesses.
Going up against the trucking company alone could result in receiving a settlement amount that is less than your claim is worth. Don’t allow the trucking company and insurance provider to control the case. Instead, hire a lawyer to even the playing field and give you a better chance of a successful outcome.
Contact the Tampa Truck Accidents Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Tampa. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655