The regulations issued Aug. 19 by the FMCSA are “a thinly veiled attempt to undermine federal safety laws and the U.S. court system,” CRASH said in its statement. “The new rule will endanger the lives of everyone on our nation’s highways at a time when truck crash deaths have increased.”
CRASH cited statistics from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System showing that 5,190 people died in large truck crashes in 2004, a 3.1 percent increase over 2003.
The 2004 FARS details only fatality locations, types of vehicles involved and the presence of alcohol as a factor, not who was at fault. Past studies have shown that most truck-car collisions are the fault of four-wheelers, not truckers.
Also not mentioned by the activists was the fact that according to the FMCSA, only 5.5 percent of truck-related fatalities are because of fatigue.
“We at FMCSA will continue to look at the science and the data to reduce fatalities in not only this 5.5 percent of truck crashes which are fatigue-related but in the other 94.5 percent of large truck crashes as well,” said FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg.
Jackie Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said: “Truck deaths are increasing, government safety goals are ignored, and enforcement of safety rules is suspended while special trucking interests continue to push a dangerous agenda in Congress. It’s time to stop coddling the trucking industry and make the safety of all motorists, including truck drivers, a priority.”
According to the 2004 FARS, “The most lethal state in the country, measured by truck crash fatalities per 100,000 population, is Wyoming, followed by Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Georgia,” the activists announced.
Wyoming had 8.09 truck crash deaths per 100,000 people. Hawaii was last on the list with 0.32 deaths per 100,000 people. The complete list is posted at www.citizen.org.
The press conference was part of the activists’ Sorrow to Strength conference for survivors and victims of truck crashes, which drew attendees from 15 states and the District of Columbia.
-Jill Dunn and Lance Orr
ATA Conditionally Supports Onboard Recorders
The American Trucking Associations approved, contingent on certain conditions, policy Oct. 18 endorsing mandatory use of electronic onboard recorders.
The ATA’s Board of Directors unanimously passed new language backing EOBR use to comply with the hours-of-service rule, providing that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses a pilot program determining EOBR effectiveness and addresses nine issues to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness of EOBR technology for carriers.
“There should be sound, consensus-based evidence that EOBR use leads to enhanced fleet safety performance by such means as accident rate reduction and improved compliance, therefore increasing the credibility of EOBR systems as a cost-effective technology for motor carriers,” the board stated.