Driver behavior more likely cause of crashes
Mar 27, 2006 1:26 PM
Drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are 10 times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance according to a new study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
This new FMCSA research also confirms the findings of earlier studies that car drivers are coded more frequently than truck drivers for both driving performance errors and non-performance problems, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA).
"This is a clear indication that, in order to continue to improve truck safety, government and law enforcement agencies need to expand their resources and enforcement efforts at this group of drivers, focusing more on unsafe driving behaviors around large trucks, as the industry continues its own truck safety efforts," said ATA.
The study strongly reconfirms the trucking industry's positive record of negligible illegal drug or alcohol abuse. "Interestingly, the study also finds that driver fatigue, as a crash factor, was recorded more often for car drivers than for truck drivers," ATA said. "In the end, we agree with FMCSA that more data analysis is necessary to reach additional conclusions about the reasons and factors for large truck crashes."
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study was commissioned by FMCSA to review the causes of, and contributing factors to, crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. While previous data focused on specific crashes and/or individual causes of crashes, this study was the first nation-wide examination of all pre-crash factors, FMCSA said.
FMCSA will conduct analysis to further examine driver factors such as use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, speeding, fatigue, inattention, distractions, work environment, and unfamiliarity with the road.
The study, conducted with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, investigated a national sample of fatal and injury crashes between April 2001 and December 2003 at 24 sites in 17 states.
Each crash involved at least one large truck and resulted in at least one fatality or injury.
The total sample of 967 crashes included 1,127 large trucks, 959 non-truck motor vehicles, 251 fatalities, and 1,408 injuries. Action or inaction by the driver of either the truck or other vehicle was the critical reason for 88 percent of the crashes.
The data offer unprecedented detail about the events surrounding truck crashes that are not available anywhere else, FMCSA said.
The study database eventually will be available to the public to encourage further analysis and increase the knowledge about large truck crash factors.
For copies of the report, click here.
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