The Tracy Morgan-truck wreck has dominated the news this week, and truck drivers have been put under a microscope. The Walmart truck- Tracy Morgan accident was the fuel the special interest groups needed to demand stricter regulations for truck drivers. News media outlets are spewing truck-car crash statistics, but they’re just sharing raw numbers and failing to mention who was found to be at fault in the crashes.
Whenever a truck driver is at fault in a wreck, it’s typically big news, but when a car driver is at fault, the news is barely a blip on the media radar.
Overnight, two truck drivers in Atlanta were killed when an SUV struck their truck, causing the truck to jackknife and crash into the median. The truck caught on fire and the truck’s occupants died.
WSB-TV 2 reports that the Cadillac SUV and the truck were traveling eastbound on Interstate 20 in Carroll County when the SUV struck the truck.
The SUV driver and the passenger were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Sadly, the national media will not report this tragic accident that claimed the lives of these drivers.
Trucking advocate and writer Wendy Parker, of the George and Wendy Show, is urging the media to report the real numbers. You can help by sharing actual truck-car crash statistics.
Car, Truck Crashes: Who’s Most Often At Fault?
In 2012, the ATA released a report that summarizes car-truck crash statistics, and the findings are clear– in crashes, car drivers are more often at fault than truck drivers.
The ATA analyzed crash data from the University of Michigan, the National Highway Safety Administration, AAA and the FMCSA. The results of their analysis showed that the majority of crashes involving a car and truck are caused by the car driver. In fact, according to the report, “car drivers were assigned factors in 81% of crashes versus 27% of truck drivers.”
[pullquote align=”right”]“They should not continue to be penalized by their government for the unsafe actions of other motorists when it’s plainly evident that the professional driver did not cause or could not have avoided a crash.”[/pullquote]
“Trucks and truck drivers are out on America’s roads with one goal: the safe and efficient delivery of the goods they are hauling,” ATA President and CEO, Bill Graves said. “They understand they bear a great responsibility to keep our roads safe for all motorists, and they should not continue to be penalized by their government for the unsafe actions of other motorists when it’s plainly evident that the professional driver did not cause or could not have avoided a crash.”
“It is imperative that FMCSA institute a fair process to address the question of crash accountability in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability monitoring system,” Graves said.
Special interest groups, the media and select attorneys have played on the public’s fear of big trucks, but it’s hard to ignore the facts released in the ATA’s report, truck drivers are the safest, most responsible drivers on the road.
“Every crash, and every fatality and injury, suffered on our nation’s highways is a tragedy,” Graves said. “Preventing them from happening requires a proper understanding of the causes of these crashes. It is also tragic that carriers and drivers across this country are saddled with guilt and blame for many crashes they could do nothing to prevent.”
Here is a summary of the ATA’s report:
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI): UMTRI is a leader in truck-related crash research. The highlighted study assigns driver factors to 8,309 fatal car-truck crashes as a proxy for fault.
• Car drivers were assigned factors in 81% of crashes versus 27% of truck drivers •
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Tasked with “reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes,” NHTSA has undertaken extensive research on the topic. Their 2003 study assigned causal driver factors in 10,092 fatalities.
• Cars were assigned driver factors in 91% of head-on crashes, 91% of opposite-direction sideswipes, 71% of rear-end crashes, and 77% of same-direction sideswipes
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: The foundation’s mission is “to identify traffic safety problems, foster research that seeks solutions and disseminate information and educational materials.” This study, one of over 250 projects they’ve funded to discover the causes of crashes, examined 10,732 fatal accidents.
• 36% of car drivers were cited for two or more unsafe acts • 11% of truck drivers were cited for two or more unsafe acts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): FMCSA is the primary regulating agency for the trucking industry whose stated mission is “to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.” Two studies are noted below.
Annual Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts: Cites driver factors in 6,131 car-truck fatal crashes
• 2007: 85% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 26% of trucks • 2008: 85% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 26% of trucks • 2009: 81% of cars were assigned driver factors versus 22% of trucks