Truck safety is more than a numbers game

LANGLEY, B.C. — Bald tires, faulty brakes, 40 percent out of service, 70 percent taken off the road… scary “statistics” about trucks make great headlines but don’t tell the whole story.

Paul Landry, president and CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association, took exception to an article recently printed in a Vancouver daily newspaper and took some time to set the record straight.

A letter to the editor, penned by the association’s lead man was published in the paper a few days later. However, the trend of biased reporting against the trucking industry is nothing new and not reserved to the Lower Mainland.

As Landry pointed out, “truck statistics that are just as true but not as eye-catching aren’t worth quoting.”

For example, noted the BCTA, the injury and fatal crash rate of large trucks in B.C. has decreased by more than 16 percent between 1999 and 2005; and mechanical problems are the reason for less than 5 percent of injury and fatal truck crashes.

While it’s true the majority of the industry deserves recognition and accolades for the outstanding effort they put forward on a daily basis, there are others who do not operate to the same standard.

It’s those few operators who cut corners to make an extra buck that paint a poor picture for the rest of the industry, and the BCTA would like to see more done to condone such behavior.

Because a grossly substandard truck can hurt others, negligent owners and drivers should be duly punished and, in extreme cases, vilified,” stated Landry. “These people endanger not only themselves but everyone else on the road.”

The state of a truck’s repair ends up being a direct reflection of the priorities of a trucking company’s customers. Poorly managed, irresponsible companies may cut prices to get business, but it leaves them nothing to spend on maintenance.

“Everyone all down the line needs to understand that pricing doesn’t cover just a driver’s time and fuel costs,” explained Landry. “Shippers should demand quality service and be willing to pay for it. When shippers learn to differentiate between quality and cost, both trucking companies and the public will benefit.”

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