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How Safe is the Big Rig Sharing the Road with You?

September 8, 2009

WASHINGTON - Something to think about when you see a big rig looming up in the rear view mirror: A new analysis of federal data shows more than 28,000 motor carrier companies operating more than 200,000 trucks that don't meet minimum safety standards. The analysis found South Dakota companies had more violations than the national average.

In an effort to determine how many unsafe trucks are on the road, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) reviewed data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and found that thousands had safety violations.

AAJ spokesman Ray De Lorenzi says these aren't minor problems.

"Commuters are sharing roads with trucks that have incurred thousands of safety violations, such as defective brakes, bald tires, loads that dangerously exceed weight limits, and drivers who may have little or no training."

He says there is a reason that motorists should be concerned about so many trucks not meeting safety standards.

"Most Americans don't realize this, but unfortunately, trucks, while they make up a small percentage of the vehicles on the road, do account for a larger percentage of the actual accidents and deaths that occur."

The trucking industry says the data do not accurately reflect current vehicle safety because much of the information is more than 20 years old, and many companies faulted are no longer in business.

A full listing of all companies in violation of federal safety requirements by state is available online at
www.justice.org

Dick Layman, Public News Service - SD