The Top Reason for Ordering Marcellus Drilling-Related Truck Drivers Off the Road is…

Yet another hit piece by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (an editorial this time) plays up the “danger” that “the drilling industry” is not maintaining its trucking fleets. The evidence of this danger is not the number of serious accidents nor even a tear-jerker personal story of a mishap with a nasty drilling truck, but this:

During the second annual Marcellus Transportation Safety Day Tuesday in Washington County, state police Maj. Harvey Cole Jr. said the 5,800 roadside inspections of industry trucks since January 2010 found 13,000 driver and vehicle safety violations, including 2,800 deficiencies that were serious enough to put the driver or the truck out of service.*

So the PA state police have conducted roughly 5,800 roadside inspections in the past 18 months, and of that number, 2,800 had problems serious enough to put the driver or truck out of service. That’s a pretty high number: 48 percent by my calculation. (The article said the rate was 42 percent, so I’m not sure how they ran their calculations—either way it’s pretty high.) According to the article, the national average is 24 percent.

And the biggest reason why drivers were put out of commission by the state police? The menacing threat and danger to the local populace? Were those drivers drunk? Half blind? Talking on a cell phone? No. The top reason for pulling drivers off the road was…paperwork errors.

Although the top reason for ordering drivers off the road involved paperwork errors, the most frequent vehicle deficiencies that caused removal from service were faulty brake tubing and hoses, lighting, poorly adjusted and defective brakes and improperly secured cargo.*

Hey, nobody wants unsafe trucks rumbling around the neighborhood. If there’s problems with the equipment, you deserve a ticket. But please, paperwork errors?!

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Jun 23, 2011) – Trucking danger: The drilling industry must improve its vehicles