Maintaining a safe speed for commercial vehicles involves more than merely following the posted speed limit.
In fact, the law explicitly connects a vehicle’s speed and road conditions by stating that vehicles must operate at a reasonably safe speed given external conditions. This means that vehicles could travel at a speed far under the posted limit as long as it adheres to the stipulation of reasonable safety.
Factors that can require a reduced speed include rain, fog, high winds, smoke, and more.
With this in mind, consider that commercial trucks are subject to other factors that do not apply to smaller passenger vehicles.
For example, commercial trucks are very large and require a lot of stopping force. If one is traveling too fast to stop, the odds of them hitting the vehicle in front of them are high. This means that in addition to an awareness of the posted speed limits, commercial truck operators need to know when to decrease their speed.
Legal Speed Limits for Commercial Trucks in California
California imposes special regulations on commercial truck drivers. California Vehicle Code 22406 VC states that trucks with three or more axles, buses, and other specific vehicles must not exceed speeds of 55 miles per hour. Drivers who violate this could incur a fine and see points removed from their license. Even worse, they could cause a life-altering accident.
Deceleration Factors for Commercial Trucks
In a perfect world, those operating commercial trucks would simply refrain from speeding on California highways. After all, common sense shows that traffic is dense and unpredictable with plenty of braking. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and truck drivers speed more often than they should.
When deciding when to lower their speed, there are several factors that drivers should observe:
- Traffic conditions
- Road conditions
- Adverse weather
- Unfamiliar areas
If the driver feels that maintaining their current speed in any of the above conditions would constitute a breach of reasonable safety standards, they are well within their rights to lower it for their own safety and that of their fellow motorists.
What Can Happen If a Commercial Truck Travels at High Speeds?
Commercial trucks are more prone to high-speed collisions than other vehicles. This unfortunate fact is due to several factors, including their center of gravity, size, length, and the weight of their cargo. Ignoring these factors puts everyone on the road at risk.
Drivers who travel at unsafe speeds in a commercial truck could cause a variety of accidents, including but not limited to:
- Injuring or killing pedestrians
- Sideswipe collisions
- Stopping collisions
Fortunately, these accidents can often be avoided by exercising proper care and being aware of the surrounding environmental factors.
Proving Negligence in a California Truck Accident
If a commercial truck driver is involved in an accident on a California highway and was speeding, that driver could potentially be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit.
According to California law, negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise reasonable caution, causing injuries to others. Failing to follow the posted speed limit, including exercising reasonable caution as it applies to current road conditions, could certainly fall under the negligence category.
In addition to negligence, a speeding commercial truck driver could also be charged with reckless driving, which is defined as driving in a manner that demonstrates a disregard for the safety of people or property. If found guilty, drivers could face a hefty fine and jail time.
If you were involved in a collision with a semi-truck, contact an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer for assistance with your claim.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.