information chart on the front page of Feb. 13’s USA
Today has sparked anger among many truckers.
chart, referred to as the Snapshot, was titled “Truck crashes
injure, kill thousands.” It says, in part, “Large trucks
represent 4 percent of registered highway vehicles but
are involved in 12 percent of fatal motor-vehicle crashes.”
truckers called Land Line Feb. 13 to complain about
the graphic, and USA Today newsstands at truckstops
near OOIDA’s headquarters were emptied.
complaints made their way to USA Today’s McLean,
VA, central offices as well. Graphics editor Shannon Reilly,
who is listed as one of the chart’s authors, has changed
the message on her voice mail to let callers know that
a response to the chart would appear in an upcoming edition
of the paper.
Line tried to get in touch with Reilly and with Hal
Ritter, the paper’s managing editor for news. Neither
was in the office Friday, Feb. 14.
reality is, in 88 percent of fatalities, there’s no truck
anywhere involved,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president
of OOIDA, said. “And of those other 12 percent of fatalities
or accidents, in three out of four instances the truckdriver
does absolutely nothing wrong. He’s a victim.”
there wasn’t a truck on the highway, 88 percent of fatalities
would happen anyway.”
of the truckers who contacted the national newspaper, Idaho
trucker and OOIDA member K.C. Casebolt, cited similar statistics
in his letter complaining about the chart.
his letter to USA Today, he wrote, “You failed to
mention that trucks drive way more miles per year per capita
than ‘other vehicles’ and that, depending on which study
you read, between 75 percent and 95 percent of accidents
involving ‘big trucks’ and ‘other vehicles,’ the ‘other
vehicle’ is at fault.”
the complaints, the chart was added to the newspaper’s
Web site the day after it ran in the paper.
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor