WASHINGTON – A national truck safety organization reports that Maryland roads were safer for truckers in 1995 than those in 31 other states.
Nine truck drivers died on the job on Maryland roads in 1995. That’s an average of 2.2 truck driver deaths for every 10 billion miles traveled by truckers, according to the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, a nonprofit truck safety organization based in San Francisco.
That rate ties Maryland with Ohio and Indiana.
California had the most fatalities, with 97. But Wyoming and South Dakota had a higher rate of trucker deaths. They both recorded more than 8 deaths for every 10 billion miles traveled by truckers.
Delaware was the safest state for truck drivers. It reported no deaths of truck drivers in 1995.
CRASH relied on data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Transportation.
According to the Labor Department’s report, most of the trucking deaths resulted from collisions with other vehicles or when a vehicle jackknifed or overturned.
Maj. Ray Cotton, commander of Motor Carrier and Automotive Safety Operations for the Maryland State Police, said about 70 percent of accidents involving trucks are caused by other drivers.
“We need more education for motorists to deal with trucks,” he said. “They [trucks] need more space to operate, and people need to realize that.”
CRASH’s safety proposals include improving truck maintenance standards and changing the way many truckers get paid, from a system based on miles traveled or the size of their load to an hourly wage.
The group’s goal is to reduce the number of truck driver deaths and injuries 35 percent by the year 2005.
According to the Department of Labor’s report, 749 truck drivers died on the job in 1995, more than in any other occupation, but down from 762 deaths in 1994. But their rate of death put truckers ninth on the list of high-risk occupations. For every 100,000 truck drivers, 26 died in 1995. -30-