Truck driver

Past Trucker Behavior Can Predict Future Accidents

According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the non-profit research arm of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), truck driver behavior is a key predictor of whether a driver will be involved in a road accident. road in the future.

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

The new report provides an update of research from the organization Predicting Truck Crash Involvement, which was first released in 2005 with updates published in 2011 and 2018 as well as this year.

“Four years have passed since the last Crash Predictor report was published,” ATRI noted. “Since, [there have been] substantial changes in the regulatory environment, technology adoption, safety performance and working conditions.

However, the report authors noted that the time periods spanning when the study was conducted generally predated impacts stemming from the COVID pandemic. “Industry efforts have generally shown promise: from 2005 to 2010, fatal accidents involving trucks decreased significantly by 24.8%,” they said. “Unfortunately, the recent increase in truck accidents may undo long-term progress.”

ATRI’s analysis identified more than 25 different offenses and convictions that increased the likelihood of future crashes, five of which increased the likelihood of future crashes by more than 100%. Simply having had a crash in the past increased a truck driver‘s likelihood of having a future crash by 113%, 28.4% higher than previous ATRI Crash Predictor reports.

According to the institute, its research succeeded in designing and testing a predictive model capable of identifying statistically significant relationships between the safety behaviors of truck drivers and the probability of future accidents. The new 2022 report uses the same statistical methods and is based on the review of over 580,000 individual truck driver records.

A number of behaviors have consistently been strong indicators of future accident involvement in three or more reports, ATRI pointed out. In the 2022 report, these were:

A reckless driving offense increased the likelihood of a crash by 104%, a decrease of 8.8% from 2018 to 2022.

On the other hand, not using or condemning an inappropriate signal increased the probability of an accident by 116%, an increase of 41.5% from 2018 to 2022.

· Involvement in a prior crash showed a 113% increased likelihood of a driver being involved in a future crash, 28.4% more than previous reports.

Failure to respect the right of way increased the probability of an accident by 141%, an increase of 39.6% from 2018 to 2022.

The predictability of convictions for incorrect or erratic lane changes remains at 79%, unchanged from previous reports, ATRI said.

Age and gender measurements

The Crash Predictor 2022 update includes several new analyses, including a safety comparison between truck drivers aged 18-20 and those over 24. What ATRI found is that drivers under 21 have statistically fewer accidents than those over 24.

However, due to the small sample size of drivers under 21, more research into young driver safety is needed, the researchers admitted. Additionally, since they are currently barred from obtaining a commercial driver’s license to operate in interstate operations except in highly supervised pilot research projects, most of their truck driving occurs in local service.

When it comes to gender, the analysis also documents a surprising gap between the percentage of female truck drivers overall (6.7%) and their much lower representation among truck driver inspections (2.7% ). Several explanations are being tested to better understand the basis for the difference, according to the researchers.

“Although ATRI research supports the fact that female truck drivers are safer, there is no clear reason why female truck drivers are inspected less frequently than male truck drivers, as shown by the latest Crash Predictor data,” the researchers said.

They further examined the inspection anomaly by testing several hypotheses through research and interviews with female drivers. Most of these theories have failed (for example, that they tend to drive for well-known and safer fleets), but one that seems correct is that women are more conscientious about driving clean, well-maintained trucks.

Based on interviews with inspectors and site visits, inspectors typically look for damage, cleanliness, and odd driving behavior. Additionally, the researchers said a number of female drivers mentioned in their survey responses that they tend to be more likely to pursue jobs where they can be home at the end of the day. This can motivate them toward Class B and Class C licenses, shorter routes and straight truck configurations, ATRI said.

Leaving inspections aside, when it comes to breaking the law, ATRI found that men continue to be more likely than women to have offences, convictions and be involved in accidents for all statistically significant events. From 2018 to 2022, men continued to be significantly more likely than women to engage in 11 behaviors considered predictive of future crash involvement, the researchers explained.

Of these behaviors, three saw an increased likelihood compared to 2018. These three behaviors include breach of medical certificate (up 49.2% from 2018); non-compliance with the condemnation to traffic signs (up 50% compared to 2018); and non-compliance with violation of traffic control devices (up 26.1% from 2018).

The remaining eight behaviors, although still more likely in males than females, had a lower increased likelihood in 2022 than in 2018. These eight behaviors include: seat belt violation (down from 2.6% compared to 2018); hours of service violation (down 30.0% from 2018); and traffic signal failure or light conviction (down 46.6% from 2018).

Additionally, violations committed by men were more likely to presage another incident, an out-of-service (OOS) violation (down 24.4% from 2018); false/no logbook violation (down 28.3% from 2018); any conviction (down 42.5% from 2018); speeding more than 15 miles over the speed limit (down 55.8% from 2018); and a past crash (down 30.0% from 2018).

A female driver told researchers, “Women have more to prove than men in this industry, and we have an image to uphold, so we need to make sure our case is clear.”

Finally, the report includes an updated list of the top 10 states for truck safety, ranked by the relationship between traffic control inspections and crashes. Washington State was the highest ranked state, followed by Indiana, New Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts. The others were (in order of ranking) Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Michigan.

In ATRI studies over the years, he said a correlation has been found between the number of state law enforcement inspections and the number of truck accidents – the more there are inspections conducted by a State, the lower the number of accidents.

A full copy of the report is available on the ATRI website here.