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Study: past driving troubles indicates risky future for truckers

Truck drivers with serious blemishes on their driving records -- including accidents, tickets, convictions, etc. -- are more likely to be involved in truck accidents than drivers with clean records, according to a study released earlier today.

The study by the American Transportation Research Institute was complied from data on more than 580,000 U.S. truckers over a two-year period. The research identifies a dozen driver behaviors that raise the risk of being in a trucking accident by more than 50 percent.

"By understanding how driver histories relate to future crash probability, carriers can develop targeted solutions for minimizing future safety risks. It is no coincidence that safety tends to improve as the prevalence of these problem behaviors decline," said Transport America Executive Vice President and COO Keith Klein.

He called the new study "a major step forward" for the trucking industry.

The research identifies the 12 behaviors that significantly increase the risk of a truck crash that can cause injuries or fatalities:

  • A past conviction for failure to signal properly or the improper use of a turn signal: this violation increased the likelihood of a crash by 96 percent
  • A past truck accident increased the chances of a future accident by 88 percent
  • A violation for improper passing increased the likelihood of a crash by 88 percent
  • An improper turn conviction: 84 percent
  • A conviction for improper or erratic lane change: 80 percent
  • A conviction for improper lane/location: 68 percent
  • A conviction for failing to obey a traffic sign: 68 percent
  • Speeding by more than 15 miles per hour over the limit: 67 percent
  • Any conviction raised the likelihood of a truck crash by 65 percent
  • Reckless, careless, inattentive or negligent driving conviction: 64 percent

It's clear that truck drivers with past driving problems are serious safety risks to innocent motorists on our roads.

Source: "Research links truck crash involvement to driver history": April 20, 2011

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