Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by Central New York Wednesday to call on the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize a proposed rule that could prevent more than 1,000 fatalities caused by large truck crashes. Schumer said among 10,000 large truck accidents every year in New York, close to 1,000 are caused by driving at an unsafe speed.
“Everyone of us has been on the highway and had a large truck barreling down behind us. It’s a frightening experience. It’s an experience that shouldn’t be repeated. All the trucks changing lanes, riding near you, and are going really fast. You are worried about it. But it’s not just the fear and discomfort people get from these trucks. There are far more serious consequences.”
Schumer said the rule requires electronic speeding devices to be installed in large commercial trucks and buses over 26,000 pounds.
“There’s technology that can be put in a truck very easily and without much expense that would limit the speed it can go. The speed can be set at 6, at 65, at 70. It actually saves money because the damage from a crash when someone going to fast far exceeds to the cost of putting these speed regulators in there.”
Schumer added that most trucking companies have already voluntarily implemented the devices. AAA Dewitt Travel Center Manager Kevin Cosselman said driving at the posted speed limit is always a good way to avoid accidents.
“They are on the road for a long period of time. Sometimes, fatigue can play a factor. Speed definitely. Road conditions. We all have been on the thruway when it snows. You kind of drifted back and forth. All things can play a factor. Reducing speed has been proven to reduce accidents. It’s always a good thing if you can keep speed to a minimum.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 126 truck-related fatalities in the state in 2015, up from 98 in 2014. In Central New York, there were eight fatalities in 2015, up from seven in 2014.