Early warning of bad drivers

Early warning of bad drivers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has identified the relationship between specific risky driving behaviors with the likelihood of a truck crash

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a not-for-profit research arm of the American Trucking Assns. Federation, has identified the relationship between specific risky driving behaviors with the likelihood of a truck crash.

In its recently published study, Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: Developing a Commercial Driver Behavior-Based Model and Recommended Countermeasures, ATRI has also partnered with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to identify effective enforcement actions against bad driver behavior.

Based on analysis of data on 540,750 drivers, ATRI has concluded that the most accident-prone drivers are ones with a reckless driving violation and/or an improper turn violation. Drivers cited with these violations were determined to be 325% and 105% more likely to be involved in a crash, respectively, ATRI said.

Other driver violations and actions that are associated with an increase of crash likelihood include:

  • improper or erratic lane change conviction – 100%
  • failure to yield right of way conviction – 97%
  • improper turn conviction – 94%
  • failure to maintain proper lane conviction – 91%
  • a past crash – 87%
  • improper lane change violation – 78%
  • failure to right of way violation – 70%
  • driving too fast for conditions conviction – 62%

    The data sources used for the study included the Motor Carrier Management Information System and the Commercial Drivers License Information System.

    “[The study has] has great information for carriers to better target drivers to hire because certainly you now know what to look for more so than what you knew intuitively before,” Rebecca Brewster, ATRI president & COO, told FleetOwner. “It also recommends mitigation strategies from a carrier standpoint. For instance, when a driver gets a violation of one type there’s a protocol so that they meet one-on-one with the safety director and undergo retraining. We talked to a number of carriers identified as safe carriers recognized by their peers and have won safety awards.”

    “Our research now gives us an early warning system, so to speak, where motor carriers can intervene when necessary within their driver force to improve and make a profound impact on safety behavior,” explained ATRI chairman Jim Stanley, who also works for Yellow Roadway Corp. Regional Transportation.

    Another group that will benefit from the study is the enforcement community, Brewster said. “CVSA contributed through surveys of their membership to identify best practices in enforcing these behaviors. For instance, there are effective strategies targeting both CMV (commercial motor vehicle) and non-CMV drivers. We also found that the top-tiered states that have these best practices did a mix of visible and covert enforcement activity.”

    Additional successful enforcement programs and strategies center on aggressive driving apprehension programs and /or initiatives, and incorporate an internal performance-based system for managing enforcement by specific crash types, driver behaviors, and locations, the study said.

    Jim York, director of fleet programs for Zurich Services Corp., was optimistic about the value of the study. Zurich Services has performed its own in-house accident causation studies in relation to driver behavior, York said.

    “We’ve known from working with trucking companies that driver behavior is a key link to three kinds of crashes: rear collision, lane change/merge, and intersection crashes,” York told FleetOwner. “Knowing that, we started looking at claim dollars. We looked at five years worth of claims and across the market segments— no matter if [the trucking operation is involved in] landscaping or over-the-road— it’s always those three types of crashes that account for 50% to 75% of claim dollars.”

    “Knowing that, we’ve built a whole service approach around helping trucking company managers identify and manage at-risk driver behavior,” York continued. “We built online driver tools that bring out all the at-risk driver behaviors under one house.”

    York added that he looks forward to comparing the ATRI findings with Zurich’s in-house research. “This ATRI research confirms what we suspected: the link between driver behavior and crash involvement. We’re thankful for this research— there’s now an external source to complement what we have internally.”

    To receive a copy of this report, go to www.atri-online.org.

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