Fatigue not the Leading Cause of Truck Accidents

by TJ on October 11, 2012

The American Trucking Association (ATA) has issued a white paper to set the record straight on fatigue as a cause of truck related crashes. The paper points out to the fact of an unfair exaggeration of claims by anti-trucking industry interest groups regarding the role of fatigue in such crashes. The white paper was released at the start of the Management Conference and Exhibition of ATA that took place in Los Angeles.

The Truth Reveals Itself

Bill Graves, the President and CEO of ATA, said: “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. 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 association stated that this white paper demonstrates the lack of substance in the claim that 30 to 40 percent of truck related crashes occur due to driver fatigue. This figure, which is often quoted by advocacy groups, arose from a report by the
(NTSB) in 1990 that was titled: “Fatigue, Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Medical Factors in Fatal-to-the-Driver Heavy Truck Crashes.” That report had looked at 182 crashes, most of which were single-vehicle accidents, where the truck driver was killed.

An Agenda

At that point, NTSB itself had noted that it had “specifically selected truck accidents that were likely to include fatigue-related accidents; that is, single vehicle accidents that tend to occur at night.” It went on to say that the purpose of the report was not to evaluate “the statistical incidence of fatigue.”

Anti-Business Sentiment

Mike Card, incoming chairman of ATA and president of Combined Transport, Inc., Ore., said: “ATA has been a champion for determining and addressing the true causes of crashes like increased speeds and aggressive driving. 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.”

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