By Lyndon Finney
The Trucker Staff
WASHINGTON — The Analysis Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published its comprehensive safety report on large trucks for 2009, and while the information about the total number of truck-related fatalities was not new (3,380 in 2009 versus 4,245 as reported in 2008), the report delivered additional, in-depth data that shows the trucking industry is as safe as it ever has been.
Meanwhile, the fact that the FMCSA did not publicize the report has become a story in itself.
“Based on the report, fatal crashes involving a large truck have fallen 31 percent from 2007 to 2009 and crashes resulting in injury have fallen 30 percent,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. He praised the efforts of the nation’s truck drivers, safety directors and law enforcement officers for their contributions to the continued progress in the industry’s safety record.
The report shows that the large truck fatal crash rate fell to 1.04 crashes per 100 million miles in 2009, down from 1.21 in 2008, and that since 2000, the fatal crash rate for large trucks has declined 54.5 percent, more than twice the passenger vehicle crash rate.
“These safety gains,” Graves said, “are the result of many things — sensible regulation, improvements in technology, slower more fuel efficient driving, the dedication of professional drivers and safety directors — as well as more effective enforcement techniques that look at all the factors involved in crashes, not just a select few.”
Graves was quick to chide FMCSA for not doing more to share this good news about trucking’s safety progress.
“These results deserve to be heralded as tremendous progress and very good news for American motorists, our industry and our industry’s regulators,” Graves said. “However, FMCSA has chosen not to highlight these important results. By not celebrating this success, the agency is doing itself a disservice. These results are as much an achievement for FMCSA as they are for the nation’s trucking industry. We are at a loss on why FMCSA chose not to communicate this final data indicating great safety progress.”
A spokesperson for the FMCSA said the agency published the information last year when it was first published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the only thing new in the report was the data about vehicle miles traveled... Continue reading...