Truck Safety Coalition takes ATA to task over crash faults report

By James Jaillet on

truck-wreckThe Truck Safety Coalition has sent the American Trucking Associations a letter blasting it and its findings in a report released last week that concludes 80 percent of car-truck crashes were caused by car drivers and not truck drivers. 

Members of the Truck Safety Coalition addressed the letter to ATA President Bill Graves and ATA Chairman Dan England, whose original report — Relative Contribution/Fault in Car-Truck Crashes —  was done mostly to make a point about the lack of crash accountability and fault in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. 

ATA’s study was a round-up of studies done in the previous decade by the University of Michigan, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and even FMCSA — which is one of the main points of contention for the Truck Safety Coalition.

The report, says TSC, “rehashes and misuses old studies in order to blame the drivers of passenger vehicles for causing most two vehicle crashes between light passenger vehicles and large trucks.” The letter then goes on to cite numbers from the Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety to present an alternative view to ATA’s, saying that in car-truck crashes, “97 percent of the people who die are the occupants of the cars and light trucks.” 

“The ATA misuses these studies by claiming they identify who is at fault in two-vehicle truck-car crashes, which the studies did not do, and specifically claimed they could not do,” says the letter. 

The Truck Safety Coalition — a joint effort between the Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways — concludes its letter by saying the trucking industry and ATA should “stop the cruel public relations game of shifting attention away from the unacceptable death toll caused by big trucks on our nation’s roads,” then implying it should accept the regulatory changes from FMCSA and others.

The group also sent the letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and several members of Congress. 

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Click here to see CCJ‘s coverage of ATA’s report.

James Jaillet

James Jaillet is the News Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at jjaillet@randallreilly.com.

4 comments
Oldtrucker
Oldtrucker

That's like the cop reading me the rules about seat belt because I didn't have one on when he pulled me over...  Told cop,"he didn't have one on his vehicle & if were to got into an accident I know who will walk away". If everyone is suppose to follow the rules, then why do only a few have to???  Yes, he was on a motorcycle...

RalphBurket
RalphBurket

UH, obviously when there is a CMV/passenger vehicle crash the person in the passenger vehicle is more likely to die.  That is a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious).  Cars today may as well be made of tissue paper, and a car hitting a large truck is very unlikely to injure the truck driver.  That was not the point of the study.  The point is there are fewer restrictions, regulations, and training for passenger vehicle drivers allowing them to make more mistakes resulting in an accident.  We see it every day looking down from our cab into your car, people texting, putting on makeup, reading the paper, even typing on a laptop.  But commercial drivers are the menace on the highway, yeah.

DOTDoctor
DOTDoctor

Car drivers do contribute to more than half, and probably about 95-99% of the truck/car crashes.  These drivers have no concept of stopping distance and other contributing factors.  Moreover, they do not care.  They are distracted and more interested in the radio station, the child acting up, the papers they are reading, putting on makeup, eating breakfast or whatever other multiask they are doing while driving.  Many admit that they like to race trucks just to "See what will happen".  Others "do not want that thing in front of them and will make sure they are not".   These poor attitudes are contributing factors to accidents.  Cars fail to yield when merging, make reckless turns, run lights and a myriad of other bad driving habits. Do truckers do these things too?  YES but no where near as often. 

 

We need to approach driver training from a new direction.  We need one in which the general public is educated on how to safely share the highways.  Driver's ed, as well as the trucking industry, need to work together to regain the respect of the industry and to promote the view of professional drivers and highway heroes.  The days of the reckless, free driver have passed.  Hollywood paints the trucker as evil and the sensationalism sells movies.  We all need to worker towards a common goal of positive image promotion.  When we all learn how to SHARE the road effectively and effeciently; these numbers will decline.