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Clarity in new highway fatality data desperately needed

American Trucking Associations leaders said the November 14 release of updated highway fatality data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paints an incomplete and misleading picture of the nation's trucking industry. The data distorts progress made by the heavy-duty trucking sector in reducing highway fatalities.

"Every fatality on our nation's highways is a tragedy, and we all have an obligation to improve highway safety,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Unfortunately, the data released today is a misrepresentation of our industry's improving safety record. When the public hears the term 'large truck,' they naturally think of the millions of large tractor-trailers that deliver their most essential goods. However, data released today lumps those tractor-trailers in with millions of smaller, non-freight-hauling vehicles whose crash rates are higher than in the trucking industry. The federal government should not be so casual with its terminology and should provide further information and clarity to the public."

The American Transportation Research Institute found earlier this year "noticeable differences in safety trends between different truck sizes, with medium-duty generally performing worse than heavy-duty trucks. In addition, the results indicated disparities between interstate and intrastate motor carriers."

"ATA, along with the trucking industry, has a deep commitment to improving safety on our highways," said ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express. "That's why ATA has pushed the federal government to limit truck speeds and require electronic logging devices for large trucks, as well as lobbying for improved enforcement of traffic rules around our large trucks so we can all arrive at our destination safely."

Dale Williams, a Share the Road professional driver for Trimac Transportation, said: "The highways are our workplace, so we all need to do our part to share the road safely. That means allowing for proper following distances and safe passing, as well as abiding by all posted speed limits and other rules of the road."


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