Killer trucks

By Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President

Paul Carpenter’s commentary appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Allentown, Pa. newspaper, the Morning Call. Recently, his “killer trucks” article prompted this letter to the editor from OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

Dear editor,
My quick scan of your guidelines for letter submissions didn’t indicate any obligation for the submitter to have a clue about what they are talking about, but I would think a higher standard would apply to your staff.

However, no such standard was evident in the venomous trucking pieces by Paul Carpenter.

While the crash that prompted his rage was horrendous, lashing out in every direction is not illuminating or appropriate. It also does a disservice to readers to use the wrong data. Mr. Carpenter was wrong about nearly everything.

The truck in the crash isn’t part of the $610 billion industry. It was actually a local supermarket delivery truck taking groceries and other essentials to local citizens. Railroads will never provide that service.

The trucking warehouses he seems to detest mean jobs and a healthy tax base for local communities and schools. The GAO says the average sedan pays $96 in federal fuel tax. Compare that to the about $6,000 per year paid by each big truck. Trucks pay significantly more in state fees as well.

While the reported circumstances in this crash seem to clearly show the driver of the truck was at fault and will undoubtedly be punished, the most recent federal data from 2010 shows fatal crashes, mistakes or factors on the part of the auto drivers happen at twice the frequency of truck drivers.

Even the trial lawyer’s website acknowledged that “the drivers of trucks are usually people with years of driving experience, and most trucks drivers are far more careful about driving than the average car driver.” Imagine this! More objectivity from trial lawyers that undoubtedly do well financially by demonizing people engaged in trucking than from a journalist?

With just a bit of journalistic integrity, the columnist would have picked up on a significant detail in prior coverage in the Morning Call. He totally missed the opportunity to point out that there is absolutely no training required to get a CDL. LL