Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Road Haulage Trucks Appear Less Dangerous in Latest US Survey

Blame for Accidents Allocated in New ATA Report
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE – Traffic accidents of course happen everywhere across the globe but when they involve a road haulage asset, particularly a large truck, the consequences tend to be much graver than when any other vehicles are involved and it’s pretty certain that the latest report from the US can be extrapolated to give a fairly reasonable picture of what happens elsewhere in similar circumstances. The report tries to evaluate the role of trucks in accidents where other road users are involved and therefore apportion ‘average blame’.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is an organisation which obviously lobbies on behalf of its hauliers but the evidence it has produced this month comes, not from its own enquiries, but from unimpeachable sources across the safety community in the US. The ATA draws on evidence compiled by four respected, independent bodies, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and last, but certainly not least the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Certainly the figures quoted in the report make interesting reading with truckers being rated by the numbers as considerably better drivers than the other road users examined. One might argue so they should be as industry professionals but set against this are the enormous mileages which most rack up in the course of a year which makes accidents all the more likely than for an occasional road user. The ATA’s published motives for compiling the report are laudable as President and CEO, Bill Graves, explains:

“The principal policy reason for evaluating relative contribution, and the nature of errors that increase crash risk, is to design and implement cost-effective truck safety programs that yield the greatest safety benefits. In the context of prevention and countermeasures, it’s critical to understand relative contribution since cars are involved in the majority of truck crashes.

“Every crash, and every fatality and injury, suffered on our nation’s highways is a tragedy, 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.

“Trucks and truck drivers are out on America’s roads with one goal: the safe and efficient delivery of the goods they are hauling. 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 and Accountability monitoring system.”

To view a précis of the ATA report click HERE or to read in full HERE.

Photo: And so it ever was. The truck driver might have had to admit to this one after being hit by a tram in the 1920's.