Mixed Reaction

| September 11, 2005

The District of Columbia’s number of highway fatalities took the biggest percentage drop – 36 percent – while Vermont, with a 42 percent increase in the number of highway fatalities, saw the biggest percentage gain.

The 2004 nationwide highway fatality total was 248 less than the 2003 total, 42,884. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.46 in 2004, down from 1.48 in 2003. The rate has been improving since 1966, when 50,894 people died and the rate was 5.5.
Norman Mineta, the U.S. secretary of transportation, said that the lower rate is attributable to safer cars, more people using seat belts and the safety laws the U.S. Department of Transportation has pushed for.

“As long as the number of highway deaths remains as high as it is, we will keep advocating for the kind of vehicles, roads and driving habits that make people safer in their cars and trucks,” Mineta said.

Twenty-two states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, now have primary safety belt laws, and this has led to an all-time high safety belt usage level of 80 percent. Also, all states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, now have 0.08 blood alcohol laws for drivers.

NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System also shows that between 2003 and 2004:

  • Motorcycle fatalities rose 8 percent, from 3,714 to 4,008.

  • Alcohol-related fatalities dropped from 17,105 to 16,694, a 2.4 percent decline.
  • Rollover deaths among passenger vehicle occupants increased 1.1 percent to 10,553 from 10,442.
  • Total fatalities in sport utility vehicles increased to 4,735 from 4,483, while fatalities in passenger cars, pickup trucks and vans decreased by 834.
  • Passenger vehicle occupant fatalities dropped to 31,693, the lowest since 1992.
  • Pedestrian deaths declined 2.8 percent, from 4,774 to 4,641.

-Lance Orr

New Love’s
A new Love’s Travel Stop is now open in Chandler, Ariz., at the intersection of I-10 and Sundust Road. This makes 112 Travel Stops now open and is the sixth of 15 new locations scheduled to open in 2005. This is the first Travel Stop to have an RV lane for gas and diesel fueling.

Charity Convoy
The Fraternal Order of Police at the Pennsylvania State Lodge is organizing a Sept. 24 convoy around Harrisburg’s capital beltway as part of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics. Qualifying trucks include semis, truck/trailer combinations, large trucks, low boys, dump trucks, flat beds, buses, and large tow trucks. A single entry costs $100, and other sponsorships are available. Information is available by calling the Special Olympics at (800) 700-8585.

Mack Supplies Postal Service
Mack Trucks will supply more than 1,400 trucks to the United States Postal Service by the end of 2006. The 1,180 Vision highway models and 226 MR vocational models will be used at more than 200 postal service locations across the country.

Share the Road Website
The American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road website, www.atastr.com, went live July 26. The site is designed to teach the motoring public about large blind spots that surround 18-wheelers. The STR program is sponsored by Mack Trucks and Chevron Delo. STR plans to regularly update the site with new information and fresh perspectives on how to keep highways safe.
Indiana Petro Petro Stopping Centers has opened a truckstop in Remington, Ind., off I-65, at Exit 201 and U.S. Highway 24. This is the fourth Petro location in the state and the 63rd nationwide. The site contains a Petro:Lube truck service center and a Travel Store. The facility also offers eight fueling lanes and overnight parking for 150 trucks. The installation of a new Iron Skillet Buffet, with carving station, is planned for the fall.

Diesel Nears Record High
National diesel fuel prices jumped almost 6 cents, from $2.348 to $2.407, between Aug. 1 and Aug. 8. The most recent average is just a tenth of a cent below the all-time retail national average, $2.408, for the week ending July 11, based on U.S. Department of Energy figures.

Freight Index Up Slightly
The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ May Transportation Services Index for freight, 113.1, climbed half a point from April’s 112.6. It was the third consecutive monthly increase. A year ago, the freight index was 110.5. The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit.

Freightliner Website
Freightliner Trucks recently unveiled the company’s redesigned website, www.freightlinertrucks.com. The site features improved navigation, updated graphics, interior and exterior product photography, search engines for new and used trucks and dealer parts and service information. The site focuses on industry application segments. Users can search for vehicles by model name or from an application list.

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