ATRI study offers methods to predict, correct driver behavior

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The American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, has presented its “crash predictor” study that evaluates and links past driver traffic violations and convictions with their likelihood of being involved in a crash, providing trucking companies invaluable safety-related information on drivers.

The study — which also shows what enforcement and education programs are best to address potential or current driver behavior problems — was unveiled Tuedsay, Oct. 18 in Boston at the 2005 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations.

“We know driver-related factors are involved to a large degree in crashes involving large trucks,” said ATRI Chairman Jim Staley of YRC Regional Transportation. “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.”

The ATRI research analyzed data on 540,750 drivers gathered over a three-year timeframe to determine future crash predictability. A second objective, in conjunction with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, was to identify effective enforcement actions to counteract the driving behaviors predictive of future crash involvement.

ATRI’s study, “Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: Developing a Commercial Driver Behavior-Based Model and Recommended Countermeasures,” shows reckless driving and improper turn violations as the two violations associated with the highest increase in likelihood of a future crash.

The four convictions with the highest likelihood of a future crash are: improper or erratic lane change; failure to yield right of way; improper turn; and failure to maintain a proper lane. When a driver receives a conviction for one of these behaviors, the likelihood of a future crash increases between 91 and 100 percent. In a summary of all crash data analyzed, reckless driving violations prompt the highest likelihood of a future crash; 325 percent.

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