If ambulance chasing were a sport, there’s an attorney in Ft. Worth who, with the help of none other than the Dallas Morning News, would be a National champion. And if propaganda were a crime, he’d be defending himself from underneath the jailhouse.
According to this (ahem) gentleman, today is the most dangerous day of the year on the highways, because all the outlaw truckers have taken the past three days off to cook meth and abduct children. Oh wait, that’s not right, it’s not the outlaw truckers, it’s the owner-operators. (You know, the heinous group of vagrants making up a whopping “80 percent of the industry” [Overdrive’s 2015 estimates put the raw number at around 246,000 trucks controlled by owner-operators, or 14.4 percent of today’s for-hire population. –ed.] and who haunt the highways in their death machines, looking for families to plunder.)
The Texas lawyer asserts that most everyone who took the past three days off is now back on the road, driving illegally to make up for lost time. He doesn’t feel like the 2015 statistics for Safety Check are good enough, even though they showed the lowest violation rates since 1991 and violators represented less than 25 percent of the thousands of trucks and drivers inspected. (And he also, obviously, doesn’t know or just doesn’t care that inspections happen day-in, day-out, in every state in the union, and the results are in fact tracked and analyzed at all the levels of government, to say nothing of truckers themselves and the variety of third parties doing so.)
Mr. Lawyer is appalled at the fact that notice is given for Safety Push, although he likely doesn’t hate the fact it gives him plenty of time to compile skewed statistics and load the local stations with his anti-truck commercials … . (“In a wreck? We’ll get you a check!”)
The bottom line is, you are very unlikely to get good information about what truckers are actually doing from someone who built their fortune representing people who have been in accidents with commercial vehicles. Generating fear and doubt are incredibly beneficial to his business and the safety of the roads is probably the very last thing he’s concerned with.
What’s truly dangerous is the fact that a lot of the general public actually believe the propaganda being churned out, and have neglected to look a little further into the numbers. Mr. Lawyer isn’t going to tell anyone truck-involved fatal crashes are down more than 20 percent since 2004. He’s not going to tell anyone the fatal crash rate per hundred million miles is down 74 percent since deregulation. He’s not going to mention mandated electronic logs, and he’s not going to cite the fact that the industry has taken it upon itself to improve training standards.
When you know all the numbers, it’s pretty evident highway safety is improving, regardless of what the attorney says. Maybe he should take a couple days off …