New Research Links Truck Crashes to Driver History

When I work on a truck accident case, I carefully research the driver’s motor vehicle record (tickets and points on license) and past crash involvement. I have found that past problems in these areas are good predictors for being involved in future crashes. This week, a leading non-profit trucking research group came to the same conclusion.

Truck Crash

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released a study showing that a poor driving record — one involving crashes, violations and convictions — correlates to future truck crashes. Tracking 582,772 U.S. truck drivers over a two-year period, the report spotlights 12 driver behaviors that make a driver more than 50 percent likelier to be involved in a truck accident — as compared to truckers with clean driving records.

“This research represents a major step forward in helping carriers sift through and prioritize the vast amount of information associated with driver MVRs or the new PSP system,” said Keith Klein, EVP/COO of Transport America.  “By understanding how driver histories relate to future crash probability, carriers can develop targeted solutions for minimizing future safety risks.”

ATRI compared the findings of this report (“Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: A 2011 Update“) to those from a similar set of analyses it conducted in 2005 and found that the same factors still predict crashes. On the upside, it said that comparing the studies highlights how much safer the trucking industry has become in the last half-decade, as also seen in recently announced 2009 crash data.

In its report, ATRI also describes best practices for both enforcement and for the industry to help address the problem behaviors found by this study. The report also spotlights states with proven track records of minimizing truck crashes while maximizing enforcement resources. You can request the full report at www.atri-online.org.

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