When facts won’t do, make stuff up

By Jami Jones, managing editor

I recently endured the worst press conference in many, many years. It’s not often that I am at a loss for words, but the Advocates for Highway Safety and Public Citizen managed to have me right there.

In the impending battle over rolling back changes to the voluntary 34-hour restart provision, the “safety” groups unleashed both barrels on the trucking industry, painting truckers in the most unsafe light they possibly could. That part didn’t surprise me.

What baffled me was how they did it. First they trotted out a survey so biased that on no planet could it be deemed statistically valid. The questions the pollsters asked their unsuspecting targets were so slanted there was only one answer – the one the safety groups wanted. That truckers are dangerous.

Seriously, the question was basically like, “As you know, trucks are constantly killing people every day. Do you feel that trucks need to stop killing people all the time? Choose one: 1) Yes, trucks are so dangerous, won’t someone think of the children? 2) No, I believe trucks aren’t killing enough people quite frankly.”

OK, slight exaggeration there. But that doesn’t even come close to what happened next.

These trucking critics continued to beat a drum of how wrecks and deaths are on the rise. They said making changes to the voluntary 34-hour restart would increase them even more.

And to bolster this argument they highlighted the Tracy Morgan crash and the crash in Oklahoma where a truck hit a bus carrying a college softball team.

News flash: Those happened under the current 34-hour restart provision. And the cause of neither wreck has been fully determined, by the way.

They kept talking about crash this, crash that. Death this, death that.

They never acknowledged that 70 to 80 percent of the time truckers are not responsible for these crashes and fatalities.

The safety groups want you to believe that number is not true. Their logic is that because passenger car occupants die more frequently in truck-involved crashes that their side of the story is never told and that truckers lie and blame it on the car driver.

Speechless. Utterly speechless.

It’s time to hunker down and battle back. With this sort of biased survey being conducted and wrapped up in a bow of slanted statistics and indefensible logic, the trucker’s side has to be told. will give you the ammo you need to fire back and educate your lawmakers and anyone else who gets suckered into believing this affront to professional drivers everywhere. LL