Industry News

| December 12, 2008

The rate of fatalities from big truck accidents declined in 2004, after a small increase in 2003, according to preliminary data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Cautioning the data was still being tabulated, Warren Hoeman, deputy administrator for FMCSA, says commercial motor vehicle fatality rates fell from 2.31 per 100 million miles traveled to an estimated 2.23. The agency’s goal is 1.65 fatalities for every 100 million trucking miles by 2008.

In 2003, the truck fatality rate rose, though slightly, for the first time since 1997, climbing from 2.30 to 2.31. Overall, the agency has traced an 18 percent decline in the truck fatality rate from 1996 to 2003.

Hoeman’s remarks came at a forum on FMCSA safety initiatives Jan. 9 in Washington, D.C.

Preliminary data was also released from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, an ambitious FMCSA project to gather data on why truck crashes occur. Ralph Craft, a crash data analyst, says vehicle condition and environmental issues play only a small role in crashes, while driver behavior is the chief culprit.

Craft studied 287 accidents in which cars and trucks collided. When the truck driver was at fault, the following factors played a critical role:

  • Driver nonperformance/sickness or sleep – 3 percent.

  • Driver recognition/inattention – 46 percent.
  • Driver decision/misjudging a distance – 36 percent.
  • Driver performance/poor control over the vehicle – 5 percent.

When motorists were to blame, driver nonperformance, recognition and decision also played heavy roles. In the sample, truckers were blamed for 87 of the 287 accidents; motorists were responsible for the remainder.

Overdrive and American Truck Business Services will present the magazine’s Partners in Business seminar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 2 during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

The program teaches basic and advanced business skills to current and future owner-operators. Admission is free.

Jeff Amen and Richard DeForest, ATBS vice presidents, will present “How To Make More Money and Keep It.” As the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services company, ATBS tracks industry averages for all aspects of contractor operations and helps its clients maximize revenue and cut costs. The seminar will cover, in addition to revenue and costs, such topics as choosing loads and the importance of attitude.

The trucking community is reaching into its pockets to help tsunami victims.

More than 225,000 people died in the Dec. 26 tidal wave that affected 12 countries around the Indian Ocean.

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