An Aug. 27 "Around the Nation" story about truck inspections -- supplied by UPI -- contained factual errors and inaccuracies that need to be cleared up. First, the story had an inaccurate lead that implied that 60 percent of the trucks on the road were "yanked" off the highway as unsafe.
The inspection described in your paper was conducted at several locations in various states. In one of them, Massachusetts, about 2,600 trucks were screened. Of these, 270 -- or just over 10 percent -- were selected for complete inspections because inspectors thought these trucks looked or sounded unsafe. Of the 2,600 trucks, more than 2,300 continued on their way because they appeared to be safe to the inspectors.
Of the 270 that remained, about 108 vehicles, or 40 percent, were found to have defects serious enough that the inspectors pulled them off the road. So 4 percent -- not 60 percent -- of the 2,600 trucks that passed the inspection points were actually "yanked" off the road.
I find the story particularly distressing not only as director of safety for the American Trucking Associations but also as a former state trooper for more than 21 years. I know how these inspections work because I was responsible for supervising truck enforcement activities on the highways of New York state.
Make no mistake, the trucking industry strongly supports roadside inspections and strict enforcement of licensing standards. We are working hard to help ensure safety and to make the facts known. However, inaccurate reporting and misunderstandings can only make the situation more difficult for the police, for the industry and, most important, for the motorist.
John V. Currie
The writer is director of the safety department of the American Trucking Associations.