Upcoming magazine article worries industry

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Parade magazine, the Sunday newspaper insert read weekly by more than 79 million people, plans an article revisiting truck driver fatigue, and the American Trucking Associations is concerned.

The ATA fears the article will be an attack on the industry akin to a May 1999 Parade article that ATA says seriously overstated the role of fatigue in fatal car-truck crashes and relied on unverified statements from anti-trucking organizations. Research provided by the trucking industry was played down, while self-appointed safety advocates were highlighted, ATA says.

Calls to the Parade editor about the upcoming article were not returned. An editorial assistant could not confirm that the article would run by September, as ATA’s sources have indicated, but said it could run at any time. The assistant also said the article has been taken off the schedule twice already.

The ATA fears the article is prompted by claims that truckers are driving longer under the new hours-of-service regulations, claims the ATA says are contradicted by the available data.

The ATA says its representatives met with Parade reporter Bernard Gavzer, author of the 1999 article, to discuss the new hours rule and provide documentation of improved trucking safety and the minuscule roles that fatigue, alcohol and drugs play in truck accidents.

The ATA has posted its safety data on its website, www.truckline.com, along with a link to the May 1999 Parade article. ATA is asking everyone in the industry to contact Parade and local newspapers to help present a more balanced view of trucking safety.