Parade article less negative than industry feared

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Parade magazine ran its third truck-safety article in nine years Nov. 6. Written by Bernard Gavzer, the short article headlined “Do Trucks Make You Nervous?” was not the assault the industry had feared. The cover headline, in fact, was “Stay Safe Around Trucks.”

While the article was quick to point out that the 2003 hours-of-service rules allowed truckers to drive as many as 60 hours in a seven-day period and claimed that tired truckers are a major safety issue on the road, the article also noted that fatalities and injuries from crashes involving commercial trucks have not increased significantly in the past nine years.

The article made no mention of how many of those crashes were the truck drivers’ fault.

American Trucking Associations spokesman Mike Russell, who was quoted in the article, said after its publication that it painted a fair picture of the industry.

“For the first time, thanks in large part to the efforts of the trucking industry and professional truck drivers, they seemed to make an effort to include the straight scoop on trucking safety, pretty much disproving the usual unsubstantiated charges from the usual truck bashers,” Russell said. “While there were some comments that could be challenged, overall, Parade gave the industry a pretty fair shake.”

“Motorists have a responsibility,” the article noted, “to be aware of their own fatigue, not to drive while intoxicated, to avoid risky driving and to know what precautions to take when driving in the vicinity of a large truck.” An illustration headlined “How To Share The Road” showed four-wheelers how to pass a truck, how far to stay behind a truck and how to avoid the large blind spot on the truck’s right side.