Semi-trucks are a constant presence on any major road, with thousands traveling all over the country at any time. While they usually pose no problem, they are incredibly dangerous. They are big, heavy, and have a much larger blindspot than other vehicles on the road. The impact of speeding in commercial vehicles is higher, so they are held to a higher standard.

Wagner Reese, LLP is an experienced, award-winning law firm serving Indiana for over twenty years. Our founding partners have been recognized among Indiana’s Top 25 Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers® honorees, and many of our attorneys have been recognized for other awards. We can help you better understand the Speed limits for semi trucks on highways, why they are what they are, and what you can do if affected by a speeding truck.

a truck is parked on the side of a road

The Maximum Speed Limit for Semi-trucks on Highways

How fast are semi-trucks allowed to go? For the most part, they follow the same speed limits as any other driver. The only exception is rural interstates, where trucks are held to a lower speed limit than everyone else.

However, a semi-truck and a car are two different things, and different factors affect their speed. They are also held to a stricter standard, both by the law and by their employers.

Factors Influencing the Speed Capability of Semi Trucks

There are a number of factors that influence how fast a truck can go, outside of just the legal speed limit. Semi-trucks are large, complicated machines, and just because they share the road with cars does not mean they are that similar.

Understanding the workings of a truck helps you better understand its speed. Just because a truck is allowed to go at a certain speed, does not mean it can, or that it should. While it may not seem like a legal matter, Wagner Reese, LLP is an excellent source for this information, and should you have any questions they will be able to help you.

Engine Power and Performance

A semi-truck has a much more powerful engine than that of a standard car. They are able to handle the demanding job of hauling heavy loads, and even difficult off road conditions. Their engines have higher horsepower and are capable of fast speeds, though doing so brings its own problems.

Weight and Load Capacity

Semi-trucks are generally built for hauling heavy loads, with a high capacity. This causes the trucks to weigh far more than most other vehicles, and carry their weight differently. They also build up much more momentum, which makes speeding a serious risk. If a heavy truck is going 80 miles per hour down the highway and needs to stop quickly, it simply is not going to happen.

Tire Quality and Condition

Driving any car long enough is going to seriously wear down the tires, and semi-trucks are much heavier and drive for much longer than most. Thus, the tires must be of a higher quality to safely get the trucks where they need to be on time.

Still, even these are worn down with time, and a truck driver has to consider this. The speed and maneuverability of a truck are going to be affected by the tire condition. If they are worn down, the performance is going to be that much less safe.

Road and Weather Conditions

A major external factor in a truck’s speed is the conditions it is driving in. A freshly paved highway on a sunny day versus an uneven, pothole-ridden road in the rain are two entirely different experiences.

A driver has to be mindful of the weather and road conditions, or they may seriously risk losing control of their truck and causing an accident. It is always smarter to go slower in situations like this, and any experienced driver will know that.

Importance of Adhering to Speed Limits for Safety on the Road

Any driver is expected to obey the posted speed limits or risk a ticket. Speed limits are important rules to keep every driver safe, and disobeying them is one of the biggest causes of accidents. A speeding driver is going to have less time to react, will be less aware of their surroundings, and will surprise other drivers in their path.

As a large, heavy vehicle, a semi-truck carries more risk of causing a major accident. Thus, they have even more of a responsibility to follow the posted limit. So, how fast are semi trucks allowed to go?

The Legal Consequences of Speeding in a Semi-Truck

The thing with speeding as a semi-truck driver is that it not only reflects on you, but on your employer. A commercial license is more strict than the average driver’s license, with more caveats you must follow. Speeding in a semi-truck will get you the usual ticket and also potentially cost you your license, and your job.

Traffic offenses accumulate more quickly on your CDL, and two within three years will get it revoked for 60 days. Both your employer and the law are trusting you to operate your vehicle safely, so it is vital that trust is not betrayed.

If your speeding does cause an accident, especially if someone is hurt, it will have major consequences.

Blue Truck Parked By The Road

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents Related to Excessive Speed

Many common causes of semi-truck accidents are related to speed and often it is the fault of the truck driver. A speeding semi-truck may drive recklessly, crossing the line into other lanes or merging without looking. It is also very difficult to stop, should something or someone come into your path.

It is also easier to lose control of a speeding truck, particularly on more dangerous roads. A semi-truck driver is operating a dangerous machine, and must never forget that fact.

How Wagner Reese, LLP Can Assist Individuals Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident

Wagner Reese, LLP is an experienced Indiana law firm, dedicated to helping injured clients receive their due compensation. We have an excellent record in car accident case results and have been recognized as such, as our founding partners have been named in Indiana’s Top 25 Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers® honorees.

If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident or simply wish to know more, you can reach out through our site or by calling (866-828-0308) or filling out our online contact form.