Appeals Court Clears Way For Release of Trucking Safety Data

A federal appeals court has cleared the way for the government to release truck safety information to the public, despite protests from some trucking companies. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected objections raised by the National Association of Small Trucking Companies to a federal plan to publish truck safety performance data online and make it available to the public.

The data release is part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new truck safety initiative; Compliance, Safety, Accountability 2010 (CSA 2010). In an effort to reduce truck accident fatalities, the program is designed to identify dangerous truck drivers, companies with records of negligence and tractor-trailers and other trucks that have unsafe records.

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In 2006, there were more than 385,000 tractor trailer accidents throughout the United States. They accounted for about 4% of all vehicles involved in a traffic injury and were linked to 8% of all fatal accidents, resulting in at least 4,732 deaths. Federal safety regulators say those numbers, while declining are out of proportion with the number of trucks on the road.

The small trucking companies claimed that federal regulators had failed to follow proper procedures and never put a proper notice in the Federal Register, denying the companies a chance to comment. They also alleged that the agency failed to issue a proper final rule.

The carriers object to the plan, saying that the data to be released is not an accurate reflection of their safety performance and will cause them to be at a competitive disadvantage.


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