Friday, March 15, 2013

New Studies Support Jon Tester’s Truck Control Agenda

A nonpartisan group supporting Senator Jon Tester’s truck control legislation unveiled a new study today.   Co-chairmen of the truck control advocacy organization, Hans Opelgänger, Director of Sustainability at BMW USA and Sven Olafscar, Managing Director of Volvo USA, said the groundbreaking study fulfills a need for data driven decision making.  “Too long, pickup truck ownership and use decisions have been undirected and emotionally charged” said Mr. Opelgänger, “We know pick-up truck use is less elsewhere, so why not build a case with data comparisons and look to other countries for a comprehensive US truck control model?”

Senator Tester (D-MT) welcomed the study.  “I want to thank Hans and Sven.  Their input is invaluable,” Tester said.  “Not only does their study put numbers around truck control benefits, it suggests where we might look for safe alternatives.” Tester said, “Also, I am excited domestic data that support the need for responsible truck control have come to light.” Senator Tester urged Chairman Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) to hold hearings on truck control legislation before the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security as soon as practicable.

The new study, entitled “Motor Vehicle Fatality Incidence Report” (MVFIR) found that vehicle fatality rates in the United States pickup truck rich environment are unacceptably high.  It highlights the much higher fatality rates in the United States than Western European country counterparts.
Motor Vehicle Fatality
Incidence Analysis


Fatality Rate *

United States




United Kingdom




















* Road fatalities per 100,000 habitants.

United States fatality rates are 2, 3 and 4 times higher than in Western European countries.  It's a scourge upon America. 

Tight licensing requirements, strict environmental laws and comprehensive safety regulations make pickup trucks a low-preference, high-cost transportation option in Europe.   Super-safe Saabs and Volvos dominate Sweden’s light vehicle transportation market.   Urban centers in the United Kingdom extend buses to a second level rather than packing streets with dangerous extended cab pickup trucks.  Germany engineers and constructs its Autobahns to favor speed over bulk.  In Italy and Spain motor scooters are more prevalent than pickup trucks on the roadways.   The European experience vouches for a range of attractive alternative transportation modes available in low use pickup truck environments.
Pickup Truck Safety Risk Analysis
Senator Tester said he is also excited by United States research that has recently come to light.   The safety study presented to the Transportation Research Board by representatives of the University of Michigan and Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory, demonstrates pickup trucks are the most dangerous vehicles operated by non-commercial drivers on US roadways.  Specifically, researchers found (see green dots on scatter diagram to the right) that Dodge Ram, Ford F-Series, Chevy and GMC pickup trucks are the worst safety risks in their vehicle class.  Senator Tester reiterates that closing the Penny Saver pickup sales loophole, limiting non-essential pickup truck use and restricting pickup ownership to qualified buyers, will go a long ways towards reducing United States fatality rates and closing the fatality gap with Europe.  Supporters emphasize that the legislation does not apply to panel trucks or delivery vans.  

Senator Tester’s truck control legislation is explained at  For more information on the truck control coalition,  and the comparative study, visit its website

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