Put that tired statistic to rest

By David Tanner, associate editor

What is it going to take to stamp out the commonly misused “statistic” that 30-40 percent of truck crashes are related to fatigue? We’ve heard it time and time again from groups pushing an agenda on Capitol Hill or in the media.

If it’s not clear that this stat is flat wrong, it should be, and OOIDA continues to challenge it. But if you need more, how about listening to the scientific researcher who came up with the number to begin with?

Researcher Ronald Knipling told a National Transportation Safety Board forum that the number was just a research note, and not a finding, and that it has been misused by what he calls “one-issue politicians.”

You read that right, and you can read more on Page 28.

So did the safety groups at the forum listen? Sadly, the answer is no. They quickly resumed harping on fatigue and crash causation as if nothing had happened, despite an exclamation point by OOIDA Executive VP  Todd Spencer about the stat.

Our advice is this. Anytime you hear the 30-40 percent number being used, challenge it. Stamp out that fire. Only you can prevent the false spreading of a misquoted statistic. LL