Safety groups rank states by truck fatalities, bash FMCSA

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The Truck Safety Coalition announced Monday, March 12, its ranking of states by truck fatalities and criticized the performance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The group concluded that the most deadly trucking state, based on truck crash deaths per 100,000 population, is Wyoming (6.09). The safest is Rhode Island (.09).

In addition to the state list for truck crashes, the coalition of crash victims and safety advocates released a truck safety leadership “report card” that graded FMCSA on 10 key safety items. The only one in which FMCSA did not receive an “F” was “squandering public resources to fund research advancing the trucking industry’s economic priorities rather than public safety.”

The coalition, which is the umbrella group for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), joined with representatives of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Public Citizen at this week’s four-day “Sorrow to Strength” conference.

Clayton Boyce, vice president of public affairs at the American Trucking Associations, argued that truck crashes should be measured per mile, not per 100,000 populations. “A more accurate measure would be number of accidents per 100,000 miles,” Boyce said. “That’s the way other organizations measure it.”

Boyce added that government studies have found that the leading cause of truck crashes is not fatigue, but speed. ATA has petitioned FMCSA to require truck engines be governed at 68 miles per hour. “If you can control that [speed], you will do a much better job of bringing down the number of accidents, injuries and deaths,” he said.

FMCSA could not be reached for comment Monday, March 12.

The report states that follow Wyoming are Arkansas (4.17), Oklahoma (3.41), New Mexico (3.27), Mississippi (3.12), West Virginia (3.03), Kentucky (2.97), Kansas (2.91), South Carolina (2.91), and Missouri (2.86).

According to the report, the states that experienced the biggest jump in their 2005 truck crash death rates compared to 2004 were Oklahoma, South Carolina, Louisiana, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, and Hawaii.

Overall, the states with the lowest truck crash death rates in 2005 after Rhode Island, according to the report, were Massachusetts (.38), Connecticut (.48), District of Columbia (.54), Hawaii (.71), Alaska (.75), New York (.76), New Hampshire (.84), and Delaware (.95).