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NHTSA administrator concerned about higher truck speed limits

With a number of states raising speed limits in rural areas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is becoming concerned with the speeds that semi trucks may be travelling. Mark Rosekind, who took over as administrator of the agency in December 2014, believes that the new laws could be a recipe for disaster.

He believes that many tires used on  semi trucks and trailers were not designed to travel at speeds higher than 75 miles per hour. He fears that if such tires are used at these speeds for extended periods of time, a substantial amount of heat could build up and cause them to fail. He believes that tire manufacturers never intended for tires to be driven at such high speeds, and that a blown out tire could lead to a horrific accident

The concerns are ostensibly linked to aninvestigation into an accident in rural New Mexico where a truck travelling above the 75 mile-per-hour speed limit blew a tire and rolled onto its side. Fortunately, no one was injured. Investigators blamed the crash on the truck owners (and not the tire manufacturers) because the tires were found to be under-inflated. However, the investigator on the matter noted that it was likely that the speed limit for the region was higher than what the tires were designed to travel.

Indeed, there are no 75 mile-per-hour speed limit zones in New York, but this distinction is critical in the investigation of future truck accidents where high speeds are involved.

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