Why Rochester’s cabbage spill is no laughing matter 

Source: Tina Macintyre-Lee / Gannett / AP

Complaints about commuting are virtually universal in the elevators, water coolers, and break rooms of Rochester, New York. From snow in the winter to construction in the summer, Rochester’s roads deliver little in the way of satisfaction. And it’s no surprise that today’s cabbage spill on New York Interstate 490 was the core of jokes, frustration, and other Monday-morning clamor. However, as a former business-to-business marketer, the leafy accident was no laughing matter.

In 2013, I learned a lot about commercial trucking. Drivers, also known as operators, take their trucks seriously — and for good reason; the truck is the center of their entire business. For an owner-operator, every minute on the road literally matters.

Reports of the accident indicate the truck driver allegedly swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle. At this point, the situation leading to the driver’s decision remains unclear. Fortunately, the truck’s operator left the scene with minor injuries and no other drivers were hurt.

However, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents in the United States occur almost 11 times each day on average and kill nearly 4,000 people each year. Meanwhile, separate research published by the American Trucking Association contends that car drivers are responsible for more than 71 percent of accidents while truck drivers only cause 16 percent. Together, they share an estimated 10 percent of accidents.

Both series of data illustrate how deaths and injuries from roadway accidents are a serious problem for American businesses, families, and workers. County, state, and Federal legislators and their agency counterparts must examine these events and work together to better understand how safer roads alongside safer vehicles can ensure a better pathway for both businesses and commuters to arrive at their respective destinations.


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