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White paper sets record on fatigue straight, ATA says

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says the report clearly demonstrates that fatigued is not the leading cause of truck-related crashes. (Courtesy: ATA)

The Trucker News Services

10/7/2012

LAS VEGAS – In a new white paper released Sunday, the American Trucking Associations said it was setting the record straight about the involvement of fatigue in large truck crashes, highlighting how anti-trucking industry interest groups wildly exaggerate its role in crashes.

“While every crash on our nation's highways is a tragedy – particularly those that involve serious injuries or fatalities – the first step toward reducing crashes is being honest about what causes them,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “We have often been told by self-appointed 'experts' that fatigue is the leading cause of truck-involved crashes, and this report clearly demonstrates that is not true.”

The white paper was released at beginning of the ATA’s Management Conference and Exhibition that opened here Sunday.

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The association said the paper shows 30 percent to 40 percent of truck crashes is an exaggeration, the ATA said.

The group said the figure often cited by advocacy groups originated in a 1990 National Transportation Safety Board report titled: “Fatigue, Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Medical Factors in Fatal-to-the-Driver Heavy Truck Crashes.” That report focused on 182 crashes, which were generally single-vehicle crashes, where the driver of the truck was killed.

As a result, the ATA noted that the NTSB itself said it “specifically selected truck accidents that were likely to include fatigue-related accidents; that is, single vehicle accidents that tend to occur at night,” and added that the report's purpose was not to determine “the statistical incidence of fatigue.”

“ATA has been a champion for determining and addressing the true causes of crashes like increased speeds and aggressive driving,” said Mike Card, incoming ATA chairman and president of Combined Transport Inc., Central Point, Ore. “Reducing and managing fatigue is an important safety issue, but it shouldn't be the only safety issue as some groups want to make it.”

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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