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Law Firm Angers Trucking Industry with Maxim Magazine Ad Calling Trucks “Serial Killers”

Maxim magazine is generally known for its scantily clad models and articles about beer, sports and fun. However, earlier this year, it published an ad which made the trucking industry furious.

The full page ad ran in the June 2014 issue depicted a tractor-trailer under a menacing headline, “Serial Killers.” According to the FBI, serial murder is “a relatively rare event, estimated to comprise less than one percent of all murders committed in any given year” and means a series of three or more killings… having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors.” Beyond harsh.

The ad copy further stated: “3,561 people died on America’s highways last year. Another 2.36 million were injured.” It continued, “You need a law firm you can Trust. You need Experience. You need Strength. You need Villarreal & Begum.” These stats have been contradicted.

Pilot and Flying J pulled the magazine from its shelves.

The trucking social media sites and blogs took it viral. The American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Associations, OOIDA and others launched internet campaigns urging Maxim magazine to apologize and withdraw the ad.

The magazine and the lawyers issued apologies. The governing Bar also supposedly was looking into the ad.

The truth about trucking accidents

My law firm represents people injured by trucks and truckers injured by people. In fact, I have attended CDL coursework and sat behind the wheel of a big rig in the process. It is an intimidating piece of machinery, but these guys work hard and most take their jobs seriously. They are not “serial killers.”

The fact is- a large portion of trucking related incidents are caused by the driver who was behind the other car. Car drivers were assigned driver factors in 81% of the fatal crashes, while 26% had factors for truck drivers. In 10% of the crashes, both drivers were assigned factors. However, regardless of who is at fault, they are more deadly.

Truck crashes are more likely to result in fatalities than those involving only cars. In 2009, 1.0% of truck crashes resulted in a fatality, versus 0.5% for car crashes. Injuries are often more easily caused and far more serious due to the weights, sizes and forces in play.

The trucking industry employs (directly and indirectly) more than eight million people, or one in 15 civilian workers. There are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. In tonnage, trucks carried 68.2% of all freight shipped in the United states- over 10 billion tons and accounting for $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods. Look around you, that was probably on a commercial truck at some point.

The ad was insensitive, offensive and indicted the profession that feeds us and keeps this country going.