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Research Links Truck Crash Involvement to Driver History

A study by the American Transportation Research Institute reveals that truck drivers with poor driving records are more susceptible to being involved in a future truck crash than their peers with clean driving records.

The analyses in the report draw on data from 582,772 U.S. truck drivers over a two-year time frame to expose a dozen driver behaviors that raise a driver’s risk of being involved in a truck crash by more than 50 percent.

The report shows that a ‘failure to use/improper signal’ conviction was the leading conviction associated with an increased likelihood of a future crash. When a truck driver was convicted of this offense, the driver’s likelihood of a future crash increased 96 percent. Nine additional convictions were also significant crash predictors:

* A past crash – 88 percent
* An improper passing violation – 88 percent
* An improper turn conviction – 84 percent
* An improper or erratic lane change conviction – 80 percent
* An improper lane/location conviction – 68 percent
* A failure to obey traffic sign conviction – 68 percent
* A speeding more than 15 mpg over speed limit conviction – 67 percent
* Any conviction – 65 percent
* A reckless/careless/inattentive/negligent driving conviction – 64 percent

Compared to the 2005 report, driver behaviors, while still associated with crash involvement, appear to be less strongly related. In that report, three predictors were found to more than double crash risk.

Overall, differences between the two studies highlight the dramatic safety improvements the industry has seen since 2005, including record low 2009 truck-involved crash rates and overall reductions in the percentage of roadside inspected drivers found violating any of FMCSA’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

To continue reducing the occurrence of crashes and crash-related behaviors, ATRI reports on enforcement and industry best practices that are capable of addressing the problem behaviors identified in this study. ATRI also provides a list of top tier states which emphasizes those states that have proven track records of maximizing their enforcement resources while minimizing their share of the nation’s truck crashes.

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