NBC Evening News for Wednesday, Oct 05, 1977
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(Studio) There are more unsafe trucks on road daily than most would think.
REPORTER: John Chancellor
(No location given) Trucking is difficult, but gets more so when driver is sent out under dangerous conditions. [Jim BAYNARD - states that any truck is hazard, but overloaded one is severe hazard.] Baynard was fired for refusing to drive unsafe truck; he sued trucking company and won after 8 years of fighting. [BAYNARD - says it's worth it, if only 1 person not killed.] Most drivers not willing to go so far. Details with regard to unsafe conditions on trucks noted. [Truck INSPECTOR - cites possible consequences if driver continued in truck's present condition.] [Federal Highway Admin. spokesperson, Charles ANDERSON - says companies not checking trucks properly; thinks companies allow unsafe trucks to go on road.] Inspections turn up 1000's of violations, but inspections rare, as government has only 128 inspectors and there are 5 million trucks. Case of gasoline truck accident in Beattyville, Kentucky, in September cited; driver says brakes weren't working. Companies say mechanics check trucks before they leave yard, and that it's drivers responsibility to report problems; drivers say complaints often ignored. Drivers interviewed by reporter cite pressure from companies on drivers to take out unsafe trucks. [DRIVERS - cite problems and pressures.] Drivers say Teamsters Union won't support them in dispute with companies re: safety. Amt. money spent by union on salaries of safety department officials, contrasted to that spent on chefs at union Washington, DC headquarters Mbrs. of dissident Teamster group called PROD say union and government ignore unsafe trucking practices. [PROD safety director Susan GINSBERG - says it's disgrace to government and union that companies risk lives of employees and public to provide service.] Refusing interviews with regard to issue are union adminr. and Transport Secretary Brock Adams; Federal Highway Admin. head canceled interview on learning it dealt with subject. Granting interview Is spokesperson for Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety Ken Pierson; he opposes major changes in truck safety regulations. [PIERSON - expresses views.] Perhaps over 1 million trucks could not pass safety inspection, yet are on road and little done to get them off.
REPORTER: Brian Ross