For all of those who think drafting behind transport trailers is a great way to save fuel, take a pass on the chicken trucks. A new study by scientists at Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that following them can result in elevated levels of bacteria in and on your car, including bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics used to treat humans.
Although the scientists stayed at least three car lengths behind the transports, the National Chicken Council accused them of "tailgating."
Only two strains of the Enterococcus bacterium detected by the researchers are potentially harmful to humans, according to Steve Pretanik, the industry group's director of science and technology. The study did not attempt to identify which types it collected.
Pretanik also said the researchers "tailgated" the chicken trucks, which he contended was an unsafe practice and an unrealistic measure of any health risk. Few motorists would follow a truck that closely, he argued.
"Tailgating a tractor-trailer is much more dangerous than being around live chickens," he contended in the statement.
The scientists disagreed.
"If it's getting into the car, it's getting into the environment. There's people living along that road. The next thing we would like to test is how the trucks are impacting the community."
So remember, TreeHuggers, no drafting behind chicken trucks.
Baltimore Sun: Study ties chicken trucks to bacteria
More in TreeHugger on Drafting:
Drafting Behind Trucks: Does it Work?
Wayback Machine 1935: Drafting Works
Fan-Assisted Trucks Stop the Draft
The Skinny on Truck Tailgating