The recent Walmart-Tracy Morgan crash has caused a media feeding frenzy, and the trucking industry has come under fire! Senators are calling for tougher trucking restrictions, as are members of the general public. OOIDA released a statement this week, reaffirming their belief that more training, not technology and regulations, is necessary.
“Instead of relying on technology and making misguided, hours-of-service regulations changes, the focus should instead be on training standards for entry-level drivers,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. In 1991, Congress ordered the Department of Transportation to set federal standard for driver training, but the FMCSA has yet to make driver training a priority, Spencer says.
OOIDA reports that since the newest HOS changes went into effect a year ago, drivers frequently complain that, as a result of the new HOS rules, they’re spending even more time on the road and less time at home. While OOIDA feels that driver training should be at the heart of the discussion, the media and politicians are citing fatigue as the number one trucking concern, however, OOIDA says that driver fatigue is “grossly exaggerated.”
“Statistically, fatigue almost never is the cause of truck-related crashes and yet the data is grossly exaggerated to 30 or more percent,” said Spencer.
“According to statistics from FMCSA, fatigue is a factor in 1.8 percent of truck crashes and the percentage of fatal crashes involving trucks is about 10 percent. According to FMCSA, the fault of truck-related crashes falls mostly on passenger vehicle drivers. The 30 percent statistic on fatigue that is often cited in news articles is debunked here in comments by the original report’s author,” an OOIDA press release states.
“Truckers are not causing the majority of highway crashes, but are unfairly blamed,” said Spencer. “Most are doing their best to drive safely as hard-working individuals and should be recognized for the sacrifices they make and the contribution they make to the economy.”
OOIDA has set up a website, www.TruckersForSafety.com, that is “dedicated to highway safety.”
Drivers, do you agree? Is high training standards the key to highway safety?
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of all professional truck drivers and small-business trucking companies. OOIDA was established in 1973 in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area and has grown to nearly 150,000 active members nationwide.