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Crash risk factors for interstate large trucks in North Carolina

Teoh, Eric R.; Carter, Daniel L.; Smith, Sarah; McCartt, Anne T.
Journal of Safety Research
September 2017

Introduction: Provide an updated examination of risk factors for large truck involvements in crashes resulting in injury or death.
Methods: A matched case-control study was conducted in North Carolina of large trucks operated by interstate carriers. Cases were defined as trucks involved in crashes resulting in fatal or non-fatal injury, and one control truck was matched on the basis of location, weekday, time of day, and truck type. The matched-pair odds ratio provided an estimate of the effect of various driver, vehicle, or carrier factors.
Results: Out-of-service (OOS) brake violations tripled the risk of crashing; any OOS vehicle defect increased crash risk by 362 percent. Higher historical crash rates (fatal, injury, or all crashes) of the carrier were associated with increased risk of crashing. Operating on a short-haul exemption increased crash risk by 383 percent. Antilock braking systems reduced crash risk by 65 percent. All of these results were statistically significant at the 95 percent confidence level. Other safety technologies also showed estimated benefits, although not statistically significant.
Conclusions: With the exception of the finding that short-haul exemption is associated with increased crash risk, results largely bolster what is currently known about large truck crash risk and reinforce current enforcement practices. Results also suggest vehicle safety technologies can be important in lowering crash risk. This means that as safety technology continues to penetrate the fleet, whether from voluntary usage or government mandates, reductions in large truck crashes may be achieved.
Practical application: Results imply that increased enforcement and use of crash avoidance technologies can improve the large truck crash problem.