AUSTIN (KXAN) – Amanda Hendrickson says her life was changed after being rear-ended by an 18-wheeler. For almost two months, Hendrickson hasn’t been able to return to work due to her injuries. “I hurt everywhere, my back, my neck, my arm. To get out of bed is a process now.”
After being involved in the five-car pileup involving an 18-wheeler on Aug. 25, Hendrickson is advocating for safer roads by supporting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposal to put a speed limit on large commercial vehicles.
“She knows what can happen when a truck rear-ends another vehicle and ends up causing a five car chain reaction. She was a victim, she suffered in it, she wants to see the road safer,” said Hendrickson’s attorney Brad Bonilla.
Just one day after her crash, the transportation department proposed speed limiters for large vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration propose equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed. The organizations say it’s a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.
The proposal would establish safety standards requiring all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds to come equipped with speed limiting devices. Based on public input, the maximum speed could be set at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.
“That will absolutely help with reducing the severity of the impact,” said Bonilla.
“I think if they lowered their speed limit to like 60 and made them go 60, I think it would really help a lot, I really do,” said Hendrickson. “I don’t think the drivers would like it very much, but I think the people on the road will be grateful for it.”
Jared Gordin, a career truck driver, says putting a speed limit on these trucks will only make roads more dangerous.
“When you have differentiating speed differences, stopping distances and merging in and out of traffic becomes a problem. If a car is driving 80 miles per hour and I’m delegated to go 55 miles per hour, and I have to come out, I can’t see how fast that gentleman is going,” said Gordin. “It will cause more wrecks Everyone should be going about the same speed limit.”
The Department of Transportation is still accepting comments from the public on the decision. The last day to submit a comment is Nov. 7.