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Truck Industry Lies

Truck accident lawyers dispel 3 major myths from the powerful American trucking industry

As more and more commercial trucks cause accidents in Michigan each year, it’s common for trucking industry officials to chalk it up to various causes while stressing that the regulatory agencies are doing a wonderful job. But don’t be duped by their clever way with words.

Our lawyers would like to dispel three major myths from the powerful American trucking industry, with help from Kansas City lawyer Jeff Burns:

Myth 1: Truck safety is improving at an acceptable rate because the number of people killed per million miles traveled by trucks is decreasing.

The truth: Years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changed its focus from tracking the number of people killed in truck crashes to tracking the number of people killed per million miles of truck travel. The problem with the change is focus is:

  • It skirts the statistics showing there has still been an increase in the number of fatalities from truck crashes.
  • There is no accurate calculation of the number of truck miles traveled each year.
  • Reductions in fatalities are frequently the result of new technologies like ABS brakes, improved airbags and traction stability control.
  • All modes of transportation have experienced an increase in use over the past 20 years, and no other industry attempts to justify the number of people killed by counting fatalities as a function of miles traveled.

Myth 2: 71 percent of fatal truck crashes are caused by passenger car drivers.

The truth: This stems from dishonest stretching of findings of a data “study” by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), of which there are several problems:

  • The study did not examine or determine causation or fault in any particular crash.
  • The one-car-one-truck crashes that were studied are susceptible to inaccurate reporting because, as most of the car drivers are killed in the accidents, the crash reports are overly reliant on what is told to them by the survivor — the truck driver.
  • The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data is inherently incomplete, as many fatal crashes do not give rise to immediate death.
  • Because the study limited itself to one-car-one-truck crashes, it excluded all of the fatal truck crashes that were most likely to have been caused by the driver of a large truck.

Myth 3: Truck driver fatigue is a relatively small problem in the trucking industry.

The truth: The trucking industry looks at FARS data police report abstracts and contends that less than 2 percent of total crash police reports indicate the driver was fatigued, of which they do not tell you:

  • Several states had no “reported” fatigue-related fatal truck crashes, as those states did not have a box labeled “fatigue” for the investigator to mark.
  • Car occupants who died in truck accidents cannot give their side of the crash story.
  • Police have little or no experience detecting truck driver fatigue.
  • The crash has interrupted the driver’s monotony and has caused him to become more alert.
  • In some states, up to 40 percent of truck crashes were coded as caused by fatigue.
  • The study acknowledged that wide variations indicate the difficulty in determining the prevalence of fatigue in fatal crashes, and that its findings of the prevalence of fatigue is, “in all likelihood too low.”

Don’t let the trucking industry — or powerful insurance companies — take advantage of you.

For free attorney advice today, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 968-1001 or fill out our contact form. We can answer all of your questions, and there’s no fee or obligation.