July 30, 2014 3:00 PM, EDT
Researcher ‘Debunks’ Report Claiming Heavier Trucks Cause More Accidents, ATA Says

American Trucking Associations said a leading transportation researcher has debunked a recent report claiming trucks carrying heavier loads cause more accidents and fatalities.

The report, by the Multimodal Transportation & Infrastructure Consortium for the Railway Supply Institute, says national crash-rate data show “disturbingly higher crash rates for trucks that are longer or heavier than the current standard 80,000-pound, five-axle truck.”

Daniel Blower, an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, performed an independent examination, at the request of ATA. He found several flaws in the information, according to the federation.

“All of the numbers in the tables are seriously wrong. In the process of trying to understand how the authors could have gotten the numbers so wrong, I found fundamental errors of analysis and evaluation,” Blower said in a statement.

Other errors discovered by Blower include: double counting of fatal injuries, incorrect use of crash statistics, misleading labeling of tables and data and misclassification of trucks.

“Trucking’s critics have no qualms about stretching, sometimes well past the breaking point, data and arguments to smear our industry,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.