I read today at the chattanoogan.com news opinion section about how the Tennessee Highway Patrol was cracking-down on tractor-trailers all across Tennessee.
The reason was that many accidents have occurred involving tractor-trailers.
Their comments were that they were checking for the brakes, the weight of the vehicles, and drug use. Since their enforcement there have been several more tractor-trailer accidents in this vicinity.
A City Judge thought he should weigh in on the subject and gave his opinion in the matter. The Judge said that he thought the reason there were continuing accidents was that the THP was so focused on brakes, weight, and drug use. He believes they should be mainly focused on speed.
From the Judge: Most of the highways now allow cars to go 10 miles faster than trucks. Example: Cars 65/Trucks 55. This is a good law. If enforced, it separates the cars from the trucks. If enforced, it prevents trucks from following too close behind cars or from flying past them.
In Ohio and some other states they have the law that tractor-trailers must not ride within 100 feet of one another plus they enforce this lower speed limit than automobiles. This 100-feet limit is a good preventive law. Tennessee used to have this law, but that and the no piggy-back truck laws went away years ago. It needs to be re-implemented to save lives. Also, widen the highways and require trucks to drive only in the right two lanes.
Let’s just hope officials realize the good Judge must have had a few drinks before he wrote this. Split speed limits are not safe. I am not even going to search out these “accidents” that are the trucker’s fault as the Judge implies – but I will bet that most if not all of them were the fault of the car driver – if any were involved.
Split speed limits allow for cars to travel faster than tractor-trailers and in doing so the cars come upon slower trucks while driving sometimes a lot faster than the truck. What happens now? Either the car slams into the rear of the truck – or swerves at the last minute and either clips a car in another lane or over corrects and slides into the medium.
The good Judge should do a little more research as Ohio has done away with the split speed limit and allowed trucks to go faster. The speed limit was 55 mph now it is 65 mph. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation allowing tractor-trailers to drive at the same speeds as cars in most areas of the state as well.
Truckers backed the changes in both states, saying higher speed limits would reduce accidents by reducing the difference between their speeds and the speed of passenger car traffic around them. They believe a lower speed limit for the truck encourages other drivers to pass them, leading to unsafe traffic moves that cause accidents – such as cutting off a truck that can’t stop quickly.
Of course though highway safety advocates contest the higher speed limits for the tractor trailers citing that it takes trucks longer to stop. Yes, it does take trucks longer to stop. A loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph with dry conditions and cool brakes takes about 300 feet to stop safely. A loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph with wet conditions and warmer brakes takes around 430 feet to stop safely. A car traveling at 55 mph with dry conditions almost 200 feet to stop safely – these times also include reaction times. I’m guessing at these distances that this is not emergency braking by either of the vehicles – which more than likely would cut some distance off.
The good Judge does offer one good point that I believe needs to be addressed. Driver pay – laugh if you must, but this will cause a truck driver to speed or drive fatigued. Most truck drivers are paid by the mile, so obviously the quicker they can get the load delivered the quicker they can work towards getting another load if the hours are available.
Most usually what happens is a truck driver gets stuck sitting at a loading or unloading dock for a few hours – which he or she does not get paid to do – but still has to allow their hours-of-service clock to continue to run – truckers only get 14 hours per day to work of which 11 can be driving. After that, they must find a place to park for 10 hours of off duty.
The good Judge says to change the way drivers are paid from mileage to hourly and this takes care of the speeding and fatigued driving by truck drivers. The good Judge ends his rant on a bad note. He contradicts himself by saying that he knows the cars need to slow down. But truck drivers are professional drivers and their trucks sometimes weigh over 90,000 pounds – for the record if it is not a permitted load a tractor-trailer can legally only carry 80,000 pounds.
I’m not sure what to tell you to do Judge except maybe layoff the booze as it seems you may have been drinking and writing.
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The split speed limits are not going to do anything , but create more anticipation to break the limits. the objective should be to have more police in plain site ,so everyone can see , to keep people from speeding .Nashville , Knoxville, Chattanooga , all have reduced speed limits for a 5 Mile radious of the city limits. That does help , but now the presence of the police just need to follow suit. That will help reduce fatalities out on the highways .