Semi-trucks have impressive power and size. This means that they can reach remarkable speeds even when carrying a trailer. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), around 23% of accidents involving semi trucks occur due to exceeding the recommended speed limits. Failure to properly adjust a semi truck’s speed can result in severe accidents that may lead to injuries and, subsequently, personal injury claims.
These scenarios usually attract substantial medical bills due to severe injuries. Notably, the victims of speeding semi trucks will pursue their rightful compensation under the law. At Cesar Ornelas Injury Law, we have helped several victims navigate the Texas legal system surrounding speeding semi-trucks. Here, our legal team advises on the right semi-truck speeds, highlighting their capabilities and what to do in case you fall victim.
Understanding Semi-Truck Speed Capabilities
Semi-trucks are engineered for hauling heavy loads over long distances, and their speed capabilities reflect this purpose. On average, most semi-trucks have a governed or limited top speed of around 65 to 75 miles per hour (mph). This means that, under normal conditions, these vehicles are not designed to go significantly faster than this range.
However, there are several factors that can influence semi-truck speed capabilities, such as:
- Engine Power: The engine’s power plays a major role in determining how fast a semi-truck can go. Trucks with more powerful engines can achieve higher speeds. These engines are typically designed for torque rather than speed, but trucks without loads can achieve high speeds because they are not pulling any cargo.
- Load Weight: The weight of the cargo in transit is a critical factor in determining a truck’s speed. Fully loaded trailers significantly affect a truck’s ability to accelerate and maintain high speeds. In fact, semi-trucks with full trailers are ten times more likely to overturn when driving at top speeds than those with empty trailers. This makes it necessary to adjust vehicle speed based on load weight.
- Weather conditions: Weather can determine a safe driving speed for semi-trucks. For example, rain, snow, or ice can dramatically reduce a truck’s ability to maintain control. Therefore, responsible truck drivers should take weather conditions into account and possibly lower speeds to ensure safety.
- Speed Limits: Usually, trucking companies impose speed limits in addition to those stipulated by the state. These limits determine how fast drivers can go and are usually meant to enhance safety and fuel efficiency.
Legal Speed Limits for Semi-Trucks in Texas
Each state in the United States has its own set of regulations governing semi-truck speeds. In Texas, the legal speed limits for semi-trucks on highways typically follow these guidelines:
- On rural interstates, the maximum speed limit for semi-trucks is 75 -80 mph.
- On other roads, such as urban interstates and non-interstate highways, the maximum speed limit is generally 70 mph.
- Non-numbered state highways and county roads have a 60 mph speed limit.
- The top speed for a semi-truck in residential and business districts is 60 mph.
Texas speed limits change by road and region, but truck drivers should always exercise judgment and responsibility regarding their speed. In Texas, the transportation code identifies the maximum as “reasonable and prudent.” This means there isn’t a single speed that’s universally safe for all trucks in every situation.
Semi-truck drivers are expected to adjust their speed based on specific circumstances. Some of these scenarios include:
- Driving in adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, or ice
- Navigating sharp curves or turns
- While ascending or descending steep hills
- During congested traffic conditions
- Driving near construction zones
- During reduced visibility due to fog, smoke, or other factors that limit drivers ability to see
Truck drivers should note that simply adhering to the stipulated speed limits may not constitute reasonable and prudent driving in every situation. If a semi-truck accident occurs, the law will factor in the truck’s speed in relation to the road conditions to determine liability.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Semi-Truck Accident
If you become a victim of a semi-truck accident, it can be an overwhelming and distressing experience. However, understanding the necessary steps to take immediately after the incident is vital for your own safety and well-being. In such circumstances, it is important to follow these actions promptly:
- Get medical attention: It is important to seek medical attention promptly, even if you believe your injuries are not severe. Sometimes, injuries from accidents may not become apparent until later on. A comprehensive medical evaluation is crucial for both your recovery and for the purpose of establishing a record of your injuries for insurance and legal purposes.
- Document the scene: Take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident, including their positions and any damage they sustained. Also, capture images of the road conditions, traffic signals, and any relevant road signs. These photographs can be important evidence for later reference.
- Gather Information: Take note of important details such as the license plate number of the truck involved, the name of the trucking company, and their contact information. If there were any witnesses to the accident, it’s crucial to obtain their contact information as well. Eyewitness testimonies can provide valuable support for your case.
- Contact an attorney: Consider consulting a personal injury attorney to help handle the legal process. Your attorney will provide legal advice, help you navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and advocate for your rights to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
Following these guidelines will better ensure a smoother recovery process. Importantly, it will increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses.
Contact an El Paso Semi Truck Accident Attorney
Seeking legal counsel is a crucial step towards securing your rights after a semi-truck accident in El Paso, Texas. We want to make sure that your rights are protected while you focus on recovering from your injuries. At Cesar Ornelas Injury Law, our team of semi-truck accident attorneys is here to support and fight for you. We understand the complexities surrounding truck accidents caused by speeding, and we are dedicated to offering you the right guidance and representation.
Reach out to us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and explore the available legal options.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.