Reporters, newscasters and commentators covering the recently released study by the American Association of Justice (AAJ) should include this information:
Despite allegations by the AAJ of poor safety and compliance in the trucking industry, the truck-involved fatality rate is now at its lowest since the US Department of Transportation began keeping those statistics in 1975.
Results from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Roadcheck 2009, the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, show nationwide improvements and the highest compliance rates ever for the NAS Level I inspections—the most comprehensive roadside inspection.
Regarding AAJ’s mention of the July 2009 Government Accountability Office study, except for two references, the report is focused exclusively on bus companies. ATA supports efforts by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to put unsafe trucking companies out of business, and supports giving further resources to FMCSA to help them prevent those companies from reopening under a new name.
The overwhelming majority of fatal truck-involved crashes are caused by passenger vehicles. According to a 2002 study by the American Association of Automobiles, 80% of fatal truck-involved crashes are caused by passenger vehicles. A 2006 Virginia Tech analysis of two studies conducted for the Department of Transportation found that 78 percent of crashes were caused by passenger car drivers. ATA has policies in its progressive safety agenda that focus on changing these dangerous actions by drivers to help improve the safety of all motorists sharing the road.
ATA’s 18-point safety agenda will further reduce the number of highway-related fatalities and injuries for all drivers on the nation’s highways. ATA’s policies include promoting greater safety belt use by commercial drivers; re-instituting a national maximum speed limit for all vehicles; improved truck crashworthiness standards; electronic speed governing of all large trucks; tax incentives for safety technologies; and a decade-long initiative to create a national clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results. (ATA)