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Trucking advocacy group, safety organization spar over crash data

There's a war of words going on, although most members of the general motoring public in Ohio and elsewhere across the country likely know little or even nothing about it.

The participants are the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC). The former is the largest national advocacy organization for the commercial trucking industry, with the latter being a national group that, in its own words, "is dedicated to reducing the numbers of death and injuries caused by truck-related crashes."

A huge difference between the two groups, as evidenced by recent communications, is their varied take on truck accident statistics and the parties primarily responsible for truck crash/car accident outcomes.

The ATA is quite sensitive on that matter, having authored a recent report that alludes to several earlier studies and concludes that drivers of passenger cars are at fault in the vast majority of accidents involving a truck and car. ATA principals say that commercial truckers are getting a bad rap, when, in fact, they are the best drivers on the nation's freeways and interstates.

The TSC takes great umbrage with the ATA's take, viewing it as self-lauding that lacks any real basis in fact. The coalition states that the recent ATA report "rehashes and misuses old studies in order to blame the drivers of passenger vehicles." The TSC says that the earlier research overtly noted an inability to determine fault in two-vehicle truck/car crashes in most cases.

What is most relevant, the TSC states, is that "97 percent of the people who die are the occupants of the cars and light trucks" involved in accidents with big rigs.

The TSC argues for better crash accountability data in a letter it sent recently to the ATA, as well as to the FMCSA and members of Congress.

Source: Commercial Carrier Journal, "Truck safety coalition takes ATA to task over crash faults report," James Jaillet, Feb. 26, 2013

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