First, it is obvious, even to the most unintelligible among us, that this article was written by someone who has a severe bias against the highway freight transportation industry. Moreover, the author is unbelievably irresponsible with facts and chooses to do little, if any, research before his ramblings go into production. Jim Spencer is the author and is obviously on a one man mission to induce hatred toward the trucking industry.
Mr Spencer needs to understand that facts are funny little things. They hide in many places and seldom float to the top on their own. They do rise though when those of us who care are prompted by the consistent irresponsibility of the LSM...Lame Stream Media.
In the article, entitled "Weary truckers pose a highway threat" and subtitled "Recent crashes renew questions about the hazard of drivers who spend days on the road", the author spews his blatant disregard for facts in many places. I will, here, pontificate on only one or two of his idiotic remarks.
The first fact lacking statement is this;
Since 2005, when the U.S. Department of Transportation reduced driving time and increased hours off between shifts, the number of people killed in big truck crashes nationwide shrank steadily, from 5,240 in 2005 to 4,229 in 2008. In Minnesota, the number of deaths from big truck crashes rose and fell from 2005 to 2009, averaging 73 per year.
While things are headed in the right direction nationally, annual fatalities in big truck wrecks are still the equivalent of a jetliner crashing once a week, said Steve Keppler of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
"If that many plane crashes were happening," Keppler said, "people would be up in arms and the air traffic system would be shut down."
But trucks continue to roll, making tired drivers a concern.
Now the facts. The latest available facts I could find are from 2006 for the trucking industry. I'm quite sure later facts are available, but being the amateur I am, I don't know where they might be found.
In 2006 there were an estimated 2 million class 8 tractor/trailers on U.s highways. Those class 8 trucks drove an approximate 139.3 billion miles and there were approximately 3.5 million class 8 truck drivers. Incidentally, there are a total of approximately 200,000,000 , that's 2 hundred million total licensed drivers in the U.S..
More stubborn facts about ground transportation. There are approximately 200,000,000 total licensed drivers in the United States. Take out the 3.5 million commercial drivers and you have approximately 196.5 million, under-trained, overzealous, incompetent, stressed, irresponsible, late, hurried, angry, distracted, truck hating automobile drivers looking for a fight with anyone they can find.
Now on to the amazingly safe air transportation. 10.2 million flights, 7.3 billion miles, about 37000 planes per day and about 5000 in the sky over the U.S. at any given time on any given day.
Let's see, 7.3 billion miles per year in the air transportation industry compared to 139.3 billion miles with class 8 tractor trailers per year. Increase the miles operated by 19 times and certainly you would increase the number of accidents. Additionally, last I looked, there isn't 100 times the number of under-trained, overzealous, incompetent, stressed, irresponsible, late, hurried, angry, commercial airliner haters in the air at the same time. Again, there are only about 5000 airplanes at any given time on any given day in the air at the same time.
As commercial drivers we endure that count of other vehicles in 30-45 minutes in the large cities many times per day. We also don't kill hundreds in 1 fell swoop.
There are 41-45 thousand fatalities happen on U.S. roadways yearly, less than 20% of those are the fault of the commercial driver and about 4 percent of the 20% are fatigue related. Don't get me wrong, even 1 death is too many, but here again we have government trying to control something that is never 100% controllable, especially with the variable of 196.5 million others that have an indistinguishable effect on the statistics due to the way statistics are kept or at least the way they are stated.
It seems that a "truck related" death is indistinguishable from a "truck caused" death. That, in my mind, is an imperatively distinguishing factor that needs to be had. Why si that so important? Well let's see.
In 1980 M.A.D.D. figured out in quick order that the distinction between "alcohol related" and "alcohol caused" accidents was very important. Armed with this knowledge they set forth to change the facts that were reported. By changing the way accidents were reported they changed the perception of the motoring public about drinking and driving. I AM NOT ADVOCATING DRINKING AND DRIVING!!!!! I quit drinking over 12 years ago due to an addiction. I am, though, advocating honesty in facts and the reporting of those facts.
Anything anyone wants to attack is always attacked by changing the conversation. With M.A.D.D. they figured out they had to change the argument from "alcohol caused" to "alcohol related"
With the Tea Parties and the 9/12er's it is being changed from "Tea Party or 9/12 member violence" to "Tea Party or 9/12 group related violence" to marginalize and demean the movement.
With truck accidents Daphne Izer and her minions at P.A.T.T. have changed the verbiage from "truck caused crashes" or "fatigue caused crashes" to "truck or fatigue related crashes" Personally, I believe these changes are despicable. They can't make their argument on the facts so they change the way the facts are reported.
Government regulations are not going to stop drunk driving, fatigued driving, theft, spitting on the sidewalk, speeding, or any other nasty or dangerous activity. As a matter of fact, the only thing that will stop anything that is illegal or dangerous is back breaking, crippling fines or jail terms with no opportunity for negotiation. That goes for everything from hiring illegal aliens to selling dope.
We have enough laws and regulations on the books but with the compromising lawyers and judges negotiating cases at the bar, over a drink, there is little opportunity to stop most of these activities.
Allow me to add here that I believe M.A.D.D., P.A.T.T., C.R.A.S.H., and all other alphabet soup identified groups all started out with great intentions and amazing goals. I also believe that they have grown some great organizations. Further, though, I believe that in many cases the group has become the cause. What I mean by that is this. When they started they found a great cause, made a run for the goal, and in a few cases that I won't name individually, the groups existence has become dependent upon changing the goals.
I believe there is way too much government funding in these groups and therefore they must keep changing the goals to continue receiving support from the taxpayer. Yes, you the truck driver, are supporting, with your tax dollars much of the fight against you. I don't know if P.A.T.T. is receiving taxpayer money or not, I just don't care enough to look, but there are many groups fighting you that are receiving taxpayer money. You had better get involved in your future or your career will be in the past.
We arrived in La at about 1900 last night. Tired, strung out from the road, we had supper and headed for bed.
We got up early this morning, since we went to bed early, and took a walk for about 2 miles. It was rather cool but a great walk.
We sat around inside the truck the rest of the day, reading, watching mindless television, and visiting with friends on this computer. We made plans to make a visit to an old friend from 15 years or so ago tomorrow but now we will be leaving and won't get to make that visit. Oh well, next time I suppose.
Dispatch called at about 1635 this afternoon and offered us a choice of three loads. Newark NJ, Philadelphia PA, and Columbus OH. We opted for Columbus OH.
We will travel I-15 north to I-40 and run that to Nashville TN. In Nashville we will take I-65 to Louisville KY and then I-71 into Columbus OH. Assuming the load leaves on time, at 0500 tomorrow, we should be in Columbus OH on Saturday evening at about 1900. My guess is that it won't leave on time out of here though, it is almost never ready on time.
In the mean time...Here is a novel item for the coming election year.
When The Politicians Are On TV, Blowing Hot Air And You Want To Scream, Just Grab Your Doll And Give It A Fling, Let Them Know...Hey, You Work For Me.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
A useful, bipartisan doll to give you something to throw while watching the news and listening to the politicians lie with every motion of their lips. Throw your doll and scream while never causing any damage to your television. These dolls now come with a retrieval string for retrieval without moving from your perch on the couch.
All Dolls are bipartisan, Republican on 1 side, Democrat on the other.
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