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ATRI report reinforces strong link between driver behavior and truck crashes

The American Institute for Transportation Research (ATRI) on October 11 released a 2022 update of its research on predicting truck crash involvement, based on more than 580,000 individual truck driver records, which reinforces the long-standing finding of a strong link between unsafe driver behaviors such as failure to use turn signals, right-of-way violations, erratic lane changes and future crashes.

ATRI’s collision predictor research was originally published in 2005, with updates in 2011 and 2018. This new report uses the same statistical methods as the previous research and identifies more than 25 different violations and convictions that increase the likelihood of future crashes, five of which increased the likelihood of a future crash by more than 100%, according to an ATRI summary of its findings.

See also: Trucking suffers ‘costliest year ever’, reports ATRI

According to the October 11 summary, having already had an accident increased a trucker’s likelihood of having another one by 113%, up 28.4% from previous ATRI reports.

“Having a scientific model to predict crashes is one of the most important tools the trucking industry has,” said Dan Horvath, vice president of safety policy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA ). “ATRI’s Crash Predictor research allows carriers to target and monitor the trucker behaviors that matter most. With truck crashes on the rise, there’s no better time to have this data in our hands. . »

According to 2021 data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), 42,915 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from 38,824 deaths in 2020. Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck increased increased by 13% last year. The projection is the highest number of deaths since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, according to NHTSA. Data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles traveled in 2021 increased by about 325 billion miles, or about 11.2 percent, from 2020.

Behaviors with the strongest link to truck crashes

Five behaviors have consistently been strong indicators of future accident involvement in at least three of ATRI’s reports. These are: a reckless driving offence; a conviction for non-use or misuse of turn signals; a previous accident; failure to yield the right of way; and a conviction for inappropriate or erratic lane changes, according to the 2022 ATRI report.

The new crash predictor update includes several new analyses, including a comparison of safety between truck drivers aged 18-20 and those over 24. The study reveals that drivers under the age of 21 have statistically fewer accidents than those over the age of 24. She cautions, however, that “due to the small sample size of drivers under 21…further research on young driver safety is needed.”

A current federal effort, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program, studies how young drivers operate in interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) opened registration for pilots under the age of 21 in July. They are prohibited from crossing state lines on the job, but the program will grant exemptions to drivers under 21 who participate. Up to 3,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 and up to 1,000 motor carriers will be accepted into the program, which is backed by the US Departments of Transportation and Labor and is part of the 2021 Investment and infrastructure jobs.

Revealing information about gender in trucking

The new ATRI study also sheds light on the problem of an aging driver population, as it finds that the average age of truck drivers has risen from 43 in 2005 to 46 in 2022.

The report also returns to the safety of male drivers compared to female drivers, with female drivers continuing to be safer than their male counterparts. Women drive trucks in greater numbers, but they make up less than 7% of the driver population, according to the new ATRI report, but up to 12% in other studies. Women make up just over 50% of the US population.

The new ATRI analysis also documents a startling discrepancy between the percentage of female truck drivers overall (6.7%) and their much lower representation among driver inspections (2.7%).

The new ATRI Crash Predictor study found that men were 76% more likely to receive a seat belt violation, 57% more likely to receive a conviction for driving too fast for conditions, 19% more likely to receive a conviction for speeding over 15 years. miles per hour over the speed limit, and 14% more likely to be involved in an accident.

See also: Women in Transportation 2022: Trucking Pioneers

Finally, the report includes an updated list of the top 10 states for truck safety, which are ranked based on the relationship between traffic control inspections and crashes. Washington State was the highest ranked state, followed by Indiana, New Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts. Three states joined the top tier list for the first time: Massachusetts, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Only four states – Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming – had fewer truck crashes between the last ATRI report in 2018 and the new one, indicating an overall increase in truck crashes and the need to strengthen traffic control. However, 10 states do not inspect trucks as much: Hawaii, Alaska, South Dakota, Montana, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Connecticut, Missouri, New York and Maryland, indicating a gap in law enforcement.

“With the recent unexpected increase in crashes involving trucks in the United States, it becomes more important than ever to understand both the underlying causes and attributes of these crashes as well as targeted strategies to mitigate crashes,” concludes ATRI’s 2022 Crash Predictor report.

The report “provides important insights into truck driver behaviors and violations that generate a statistically significant probability of a future crash. The research [also] identifies additional driver and crash attributes, such as age and gender, that allow industry players to better target crash causes before they occur. »