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CSA study on truck companies’ fault in truck crashes is based on bad data

August 24, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Take a closer look and you will find bad  data behind the study

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability program) is conducting a new study on a truck company’s fault in crashes. The agency’s latest effort may appear pro-truck safety, but our attorneys believe it’s based upon bad data that will  make unsafe trucking companies appear safer.

The study will analyze a process for updating the 100,000 annual state-reported crash records to include a determination of a motor carrier’s role in a crash, according to an e-mail from the FMSCA.

Currently, the truck accident reports do not include a determination of whether the motor carrier is responsible for causing the crash.

FMCSA officials say that the current process of including all crashes a motor carrier is involved in helps in predicting future crash risk. But they’re leaving a gaping hole in their reports by not directly saying whether the truck company and driver was at fault after a crash.

Still, although the FMCSA seems to have good intentions by researching this additional factor, the end data may not be accurate.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Since the truck driver is typically the only person alive after a catastrophic crash, how are we supposed to believe the truck driver when he says he is not at fault?
  • Remember, the true facts emerge after the truck accident investigation.
  • Most state agencies don’t have the funds and resources to audit a trucker’s log books, or to determine whether there are actually two sets of books. This is what the experienced truck accident lawyers do.
  • Not all states report all truck accidents that occur.
  • The reports are not uniform, which makes gathering the information difficult.
  • Therefore, the number of truck accidents is much higher than what is reflected in the numbers.

In other words, the CSA research and actions are based upon bad data.

I am supposed to be starting a trial in Macomb County, Michigan on September 26th in a truck accident that resulted in the wrongful death of a man in a crosswalk.   This case proves my point entirely.  All the subsequent evidence from the investigation shows the trucker caused this horrific death.  But, as the person was killed, it was only the trucker who could give his version to the police (and this was a version that was, shall we say, helped by four hours of coaching with truck company lawyers before he even gave his statement to the police).  The events that occurred underscores the problems with this study perfectly.  It is based upon unreliable data.

The results of this study will be available in the summer of 2013.

– Steven Gursten is  past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group. He was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work promoting  national truck safety, and a Lawyer of the Year for a record truck accident injury settlement in Michigan.

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (800) 777-0028 to speak with one of our attorneys today.

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