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N.C. Hits Top 20 of Truck-Related Deaths

Oct 18, 2005 |

North Carolina ranks 19th among the states when it comes to traffic deaths involving tractor-trailer trucks, according to a national survey released.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety brought victims of truck accidents to Washington including a Kernersville woman whose father was killed in a tractor-trailer accident 22 years ago to announce the results from a study conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

Last year in North Carolina 198 people died in accidents involving large trucks, according to the Fair Analysis Reporting System or 2.3 deaths per 100,000 residents.

In the survey released yesterday, Wyoming ranked 1st with 8.1 deaths per 100,000 population, and Hawaii ranked 51st with just over 0.3 deaths.

"Most people are concerned with the possibility of contracting and dying from West Nile Virus," said Jacqueline S. Gillan, the vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Yet in 2003, the year of the worst outbreak of the disease, 262 deaths occurred nationwide.

This is close to the number of truck crash deaths alone 248 that occurred last year in a single state such as Georgia," she said.

The safe-driving advocates would like to see eight-hour workdays for truck drivers, and on-board monitoring devices that would track the amount of time drivers are on the road.

Exhaustion is considered a leading cause of accidents.

"Too many trucks on our highways are sweatshops on wheels," said Joan Claybrook, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

Jennifer Tierney, a Kernersville woman whose father was killed 22 years ago in a truck-related accident, spoke at the news conference yesterday. She is spending several days in Washington to lobby legislators for stricter rules regarding how long truck drivers can be on the road between breaks, among other issues.

"I wonder what is going to happen now with the new Dell Plant and the new FedEx hub, I worry that there are going to be even more trucks, with heavy loads and tired drivers in the area," she said yesterday.

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