A new study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has found a strong correlation between a commercial truck driver’s past traffic violations and the likelihood that the same driver will be involved in a future crash.
The study’s authors analyzed data on nearly 600,000 U.S. truck drivers collected between 2007 and 2009 and identified a number of specific behaviors and convictions that collectively forecast a driver’s risk of being involved in a future crash by more than 50 percent. Although it’s not surprising that drivers with poor driving records are more likely to be involved in future crashes than drivers with clean records, the individual violations and their ties to future crash probability are surprising.
A “failure to use / improper signal” was the leading predictor of a future crash. Drivers with this violation on record are 96 percent more likely to be involved in a crash. Ten additional violations predicted an increase crash risk of 56 to 84 percent, while two registered between 36 to 40 percent. According to the ATRI study, a past crash and an improper passing violation both indicated an 88-percent increase in crash risk. An improper turn conviction increases the odds of a future crash 84 percent. An improper of erratic lane change conviction was linked to a crash-risk increase of 80 percent.
Other violations tied to a significantly increases crash risk are: An improper lane / location conviction (68 percent); failure to obey traffic sign (68percent); speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit (67 percent); any conviction (65 percent); and reckless / careless / inattentive / negligent driving (64 percent).
Seven additional violations had significant crash associations, with five ranging from 38 percent and 45 percent, and two ranking between 18 percent and 21 percent.
“By becoming aware of problem behaviors, carriers and enforcement agencies are able to address those issues prior to them leading to serious consequences,” the ATRI report states. “The converse is also true, however, as lower priority behaviors, if ignored, may begin to play an increasing role in crash involvement.”