Lawmakers in South Carolina are drafting legislation to lower the speed limit for trucks in the state.
Rep. Becky Martin, chairwoman of the House speed limit laws subcommittee, is drafting a bill and also researching effects of other states' laws restricting trucks to certain lanes.
The move is partly in response to recent figures showing the state had a 42% increase in truck-related fatalities from 1997 to 1998, from 90 to 128. However, the percentage of accidents blamed on truckers dropped from 55% to 53%. While truck traffic has doubled, the number of truck inspectors in the state has dropped since 1994, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
The State Transportation Department's plans to limit trucks to the right lanes on parts of I-85 were put on hold for three weeks Friday when the state didn't have enough signs.
AAA Carolinas says separate speed limits for trucks and cars has not proven to be effective. Lowered truck speed limits cause frustration - and unsafe truckers aren't going to obey them anyway, says a AAA spokesman.
The South Carolina Trucking Assn. lobbied this year for higher fines for speeding truckers, but that legislation did not pass. The group will discuss combining lane restrictions with lower truck speed limits at its board meeting this month.