A new study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has found a high degree of correlation between the number and type of traffic convictions received by commercial truck drivers and their risk of being involved in a crash in the future.
The ATRI study examined data on 582,772 U.S. truck drivers between 2007 and 2009 and found a dozen specific behaviors and convictions that, in aggregate, raise a driver's risk of being involved in a truck crash by more than 50%.
Broken down individually, the group's analysis discerned that a “failure to use/improper signal” conviction increased the likelihood of a future crash by 96%. Ten additional convictions were also significant crash predictors; of these, eight had an associated crash likelihood increase between 56% and 84%, while two registered between 36% and 40%.
In relation to driver violations, an improper passing violation had the strongest association with crash involvement, ATRI noted. Drivers with this violation were 88% more likely than their peers to be involved in a crash. Seven additional violations had significant crash associations, with five ranging in magnitude between 38% and 45%, and a further two ranking between 18% and 21%.
Finally, the results indicated that drivers who had been involved in a past crash also had an 88% increase in the likelihood of a future crash, ATRI's research noted.
Dan Murray, ATRI's vice president-research, told Fleet Owner that these findings help buttress the belief that a “safety culture” focused on reinforcing the fundamentals of good driving behavior will be critical to continuing the downward trend in truck-car collision rates.
“Truck-car crash rates are now the lowest they've ever been, but we've also picked all the ‘low hanging fruit’ by now, too,” he explained. “To keep crash rates declining in the future, it now hinges on the skills of the driver.”