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Truck Accident Expert Witness:
"Has Trucking Public Relations
Improved Industry Public Opinion?"

FMCSR Expert / Trucking Regulation Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) based in Arlington VA, recently hired Public Opinion Strategies to conduct a poll.Public Opinion Strategies which has offices in Alexandria VA and Golden Co, polled 800 registered voters for their opinions on the state of the country as well as the state of transportation in the United States. Here are some interesting highlights of the over 40 questions asked in early September 2014:

 Trucking Regulation Expert Witness Trucking Poll Check Box


Q: Now, thinking for a moment about the priorities of the federal government. As you know, there isn’t enough money to meet the needs of the country in every area, so our political leaders have to prioritize how federal tax dollars are spent. For each of the following areas, do you believe the country should spend more money, less money or about the same as it is spending right now.

A: Transportation infrastructure was ranked right behind K-12 public schools as needing more money to be spent on it right now. 61%indicated more money needed to be spent on K-12 and 48% of those polled indicated Transportation infrastructure, like roads and highways needed more money. 48% of those answering the poll said Anti-terrorism and national defense should receive more money.

Q: Now, I would like to read you some names of different industries.For each one, please tell me, first whether you've heard of the industry; then,if so, please tell me whether you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of that industry. If I name an industry you don't know too much about, just tell me and we'll go on to the next one.

A: 65% said they had a “Totally Favorable” impression of the trucking industry while the railroads were only 61% and the airlines were only54% totally favorable.

Q: Would you say the trucking industry’s safety record is excellent, good, only fair or poor?

A: 11% ranked it as excellent, 46% said it was good, 31%said it was only fair, and only 5% said it was poor.

Q: And, do you believe that the industry’s safety record has gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same over the last twenty years?

A: 32% indicated it was better, 21% said it was worse and39% said it hadn’t changed.

Q: From your personal experience, who do you believe is more likely to make unsafe traffic maneuvers like tailgating, aggressive driving or improperly changing lanes? Would you say it is truck drivers or passenger vehicle drivers?

A: Interestingly, 3% definitely thought it would be truck drivers and 4% indicated probably truck drivers. For passenger cars, it was 20% probably & 71% definitely passenger vehicle drivers.

Q: Who do you believe violates highway speed limits more often? Would you say it is truck drivers or passenger vehicle drivers?

A: Only 8% thought it would be truck drivers and 90% thought it would be passenger vehicle drivers.

Q: And, who do you generally believe are safer drivers on the highways? Would you say it is truck drivers or passenger vehicle drivers?

A: In this, truck drivers won, with 80% of those polled indicating it was either Definitely or Probably truck drivers.

Q: Trucking companies can provide incentives for their drivers to drive at times when fewer cars are on the road, or when they may face less congestion. Would you prefer that trucks generally operate at night between midnight and 5am, or during late morning and mid - day hours?

A: Interestingly 67% preferred trucks operate between midnight and 5am, 24% preferred late morning and mid-day hours, while another 10% either didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

Q: Would you favor or oppose constructing truck - only lanes on Interstate Highways?

A: 67% were in favor of truck-only lanes, while only 31% opposed them.

Q: Now, there are a number of things that the nation’s trucking industry could do to improve its image.Please tell me whether you would have a much more favorable or a somewhat more favorable impression of the nation’s trucking industry if they took each of the following actions, or if your impression would not change.

A: When ranked by percent much more favorable, the following was found:
86% “Placing new safety technology on each truck to make sure that drivers weren’t on the road for too many hours at a time”
78% “ Putting in place a mandatory safety training program for all drivers.”
64% “Replacing older trucks with lower emission trucks powered by natural gas.”

Read the Entire Poll

It is not surprising that of the 49% of those polled who knew someone in the trucking industry, 85% thought the person they knew were positive about the trucking industry.

It is also interesting while most thought truckers were safer, the majority favored truck-only lanes on the highway as well as encouraging drivers to drive between midnight and 5am.

It would be interesting to ask questions about having lower speed limits for trucks only, instead of lumping together cars and trucks.

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