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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Reduced speeds welcome, but more reform needed

The American Trucking Associations' support for capping big-truck speeds at 68 mph is a long overdue step toward highway safety.

One out of every nine traffic fatalities involves a trucking accident. Statistics show that truck accidents kill or injure someone every 16 minutes.

The trucking associations' support for the federal Motor Carrier Administration plan targets bringing independent truckers in line with fleet trucks, which already have a speed limit.

Curtailing truck speed is needed but other factors figure into the highway carnage involving big trucks. Many truckers simply stay behind the wheel for too long at one time and become fatigued and sleepy. Other factors more basic to safety contribute to wrecks, too. Some truckers don't maintain their rigs. Bad tires and worn out brakes are common on some trucks. Many of them carry too much weight.

The most common causes of truck accidents include more than are listed here and must be part of a comprehensive attack on highway abuse.

Supporting a top speed of 68 mph is good public relations for the trucker associations, and certainly will reduce the number of accidents. But that support also may help head off more stringent government regulations.

Reduced speed alone will have marginal impact on the sobering statistic that one out of every nine traffic fatalities involves a trucking accident.

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