Toan Nguyen Le

Speed management and its impact on CDL drivers

Speed is a factor in every motor vehicle collision; either the actual cause of the collision or severity of the collision. Plain old high school physics formula is

Mass (weight) x Velocity (speed) = Force.

In plain Enligsh, the larger the vehicle, the greater the speed the more force or energy is generated in the crash.

This force is what creates the damage; to people, to vehicles and/or other property. Understanding this basic principle clearly illustrates why controlling and managing speed is so critically important.

Speed reduces reaction time and affords drivers less time to react to changing roads, weather traffic conditions, and other emergencies on the highway. Speed increases stopping distance, especially for commercial vehicles. The bigger the vehicle, the faster it travels and the longer it takes to stop. !e most common moving violation conviction for all drivers is speeding.

For CDL (commercial driver license) drivers, speeding puts them at risk for point violations, suspensions, and revocation of license and in many courts, it will be viewed as a negligent operation of the vehicle and even criminal (felony) charges in accident cases.

  • Speed negatively impacts the driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) which affects insurability, employment opportunities, and your very livelihood as a professional driver.
  • Speed costs money in fines and penalties, downtime, and sometimes even the loss of a quality job.
  • Speeding also greatly increases the chance that the professional driver will be inspected on the highway by enforcement personnel.
  • Speed increases the chance of being involved in rear-end crashes, lane change, sideswipe, jackknife, intersection, turning, passing, and head-on collisions.

A commercial motor vehicle is ten times the size and weight of normal passenger vehicles but can run at the same speeds as smaller vehicles. In a collision with a commercial motor vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle will most likely be the ones killed or injured by the force of the collision.

In a rear-end crash, a 20 mph difference in speed can generate enough force to snap the human spine and in most cases will result in serious injury or even death.

What is the proper speed to drive at?

The answer is simple; the speed at which you always have your vehicle under control. What determines proper speed? The legal or posted speed limits are posted for a reason: safety. Road conditions, traffic, weather, vehicles, load, driver, and many other variables help you the professional driver determine proper speed.

Another aspect of speed is the aspect of an efficient operation. Speed management is critical to getting the most out of every gallon of the expensive fuel we have to burn. Drivers who manage speed, manage fuel consumption, and are 30% more efficient than drivers who do not (according to one study).

There is no positive reason to run a vehicle at higher speeds. You burn more fuel, components wear out faster, lubricants break down quicker and the vehicle requires more frequent and more costly maintenance when run at higher speeds.

#driversafety #driveresponsibly #driveprofessionally