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Past Is Prologue in Truck Safety

When it comes to fleet managers trying to assess where their next truck accident will come from, a close look at their drivers’ past behavior will provide them the strongest indicator, research has found.

This was the conclusion of the latest Crash Predictor, an in-depth study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, the research arm of American Trucking Associations.

“Having a science-based model for predicting crashes is one of the most important tools the trucking industry can have,” according to Dan Horvath, ATA’s vice president of safety policy.

“ATRI’s Crash Predictor research allows carriers to target and monitor those truck driver behaviors that matter most. With truck crashes increasing, there is no better time to have this data in our hands.”

ATRI’s analysis identified more than 25 different violations and convictions that can predict possible future crashes, five of which increased future crash likelihood by more than 100%.

Simply having a previous crash increased a truck driver’s probability of being involved in a future crash by 113%, which is 28.4% higher than previous ATRI Crash Predictor studies showed.

The new 2022 study, based on data from more than 580,000 individual truck driver records, identified the following top accident predictor factors:

A reckless driving violation increased crash likelihood by 104%, showing an 8.8% decrease from ATRI’s 2018 report to this year’s study.

.On the other hand, ATRI found that a failure to use or improper signal conviction increased crash likelihood by 116%, registering a 41.5% increase from 2018 to this year.

Prior crash involvement showed a 113% increased likelihood of a driver being involved in a future crash, 28.4% higher than previous reports.

A failure to yield right-of-way violation increased crash likelihood by 141%, a 39.6% increase from 2018 to 2022. In addition, improper or erratic lane changes conviction predictability remains at 79%, unchanged from previous reports, ATRI said.

The 2022 study includes several new analyses, including a safety comparison between 18- to 20-year-old truck drivers and those who were older than 24 years. What ATRI found was that drivers younger than 21 years old have statistically fewer crashes than those older than 24.

When it comes to breaking the law, ATRI found that males continue to be more likely than females to gather violations, convictions and crash involvement for all statistically significant events.

Comparing ATRI’s last study in 2018 to the one in 2022, males continued to be significantly more likely than females to commit 11 behaviors that are considered predictive of future crash involvement, the researches explained.

Of these behaviors, three displayed an increased likelihood compared to 2018. These three behaviors include a medical certificate violation (up 49.2% from 2018); failure to obey traffic sign conviction (up 50% from 2018); and failure to obey traffic control device violation (up 26.1% from 2018).

Finally, the report includes an updated list of the 10 Top Tier States for truck safety, as ranked by the relationship between traffic enforcement inspections and crashes. These top-ranked states (in order) were Washington, Indiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Michigan.

Examining the ATRI studies conducted over the years, a correlation has been found between the number of state law enforcement inspections and the total number of truck crash incidents, according to the institute That is, the more inspections conducted that are conducted by a state, the lower that state’s number of truck accidents.

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