The so-called CRASH Foundation, funded by trial lawyers and other known trucking opponents, is preparing for another attack on trucking’s improving safety record, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
The self-styled “safety organization” has issued a request for tainted accident information that will likely be used to misrepresent the role of fatigue in car-truck-related accidents.
CRASH will ignore data from the American Transportation Research Institute indicating that motor carriers, operating under the current Hours-of-Service rule in all of 2004 posted lower recordable accident rates and lower injury rates per million miles.
The data, which represents over 100,000 drivers operating more than 10.5 billion fuel tax miles, showed recordable accidents per million miles fell to .68 in 2004 from .71 a year earlier.
The total injury rate, meanwhile, declined to .94 injuries per million miles from 1.07 injuries per million miles in 2003.
Of particular note is the fact that CRASH has not asked for verification of fault in truck accidents.
CRASH is probably not interested as research by FMCSA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety continues to show that up to 75 percent of fatal car-truck accidents are not caused by trucks, but rather are initiated by non-commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Though the actual existence of CRASH as a reputable group is dubious, as its message and personnel closely match that of other regular truck-bashing groups, ATA members should consider the mainstream news media’s tendencies to report unverified and sensationalized charges ahead of highway safety facts, and be prepared to respond if asked by local news media.