Cable business station CNBC aired a four-part investigative series, “Collision Course,” about trucking accidents on the nation’s highways in early August.
CNBC cites statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), which said nearly 4,000 people died in trucking accidents in 2012—up 18 percent from 2009. The station said it is setting out to determine what is being done to ensure better safety on U.S. roads.
The goal of “Collision Course,” reported by Eamon Javers, was to shine a light on the dangers of crashes that involve long-haul trucks, according to CNBC. The special report ran throughout CNBC’s Business Day programming (4 a.m.-7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday) on the network and on CNBC.com
The network said the four-part series included:
• An analysis of statistics indicates that 20 percent of trucks (over 2 million) inspected in 2012 had out-of-service violations—faulty brakes, bad tires—and shouldn’t have been on the road. “And, nearly 5 percent of truck drivers (171,000) had enough violations to be pulled from behind the wheel.”
• CNBC’s reporter speaks with Dan Lindner, whose wife, mother-in-law and two young sons left their home in Illinois to visit family in Ohio, “but all tragically died when a truck driver plowed into the back of the family’s minivan.” The network said that, according to a police report, truck driver Clyde Roberts was driving at an unsafe speed. “In addition, he had three prior rear-end accidents and seven warning letters from his employer, Millis Transfer, yet he was allowed to continue driving.” Nearly 11 people each day suffer the same fate as the Lindner family, CNBC stated.
• “Can we make the roads safer? Fairly inexpensive technology can make a huge difference in improving highway safety but only 10 percent of trucks have it,” CNBC claims. It noted that Daimler A.G.’s Mercedes-Benz division recently unveiled an autonomous truck and plans to have driverless trucks on the road by 2025. Volvo Group has developed enhanced cruise controls which automatically engage the brakes if a truck approaches another vehicle too quickly, and lane departure warning systems that alerts the driver if the truck drifts into the middle of the highway, CNBC said. The network’s reporter goes along for a ride in a Volvo test vehicle.
• According to CNBC, “critics say the industry is under-regulated and point to a growing problem in which companies, in an effort to avoid litigation, simply change their name—a process they call ‘chameleon carriers.’” The network profiles a crash in Oregon in which a driver whom it said “admitted to using crystal meth, ran over and killed another driver who was inspecting his rig on the side of the highway. This driver’s boss had opened and closed prior trucking companies, including one with safety issues.”
More information about the CNBC probe, including Web extras, are available at www.cnbc.com.