Identifying Fatality Risk Factors for the Commercial Vehicle Driver Population

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Commercial/large-truck fatal crash involvement by drivers of different age groups is a critical issue for the trucking industry. Escalating safety concerns related to these heavy vehicles serving the freight economy in the U.S. have an impact national freight reliability and economic growth. This study identifies major contributing factors leading to large-truck fatal crashes for four age groups of driver: < 30, 30–49, 50–65, and 65+. The analysis in this study is based on five years (2012–2016) of Fatality Analysis Reporting System data and provides an overall picture of risk factors in large-truck fatal crashes. In total, 30 variables were found to be significant in the logit models, indicating varying risks associated with large-truck drivers of these four age groups. Model results indicate different risk factors associated with driver characteristics, spatial and temporal characteristics, vehicle and vehicle maneuvering characteristics, and environmental conditions at the time of the crashes. Identifying the risk factors for different age groups of drivers is important so proper countermeasures can be implemented from the perspective of human factors (e.g., safe speed choice, fatigue), roadway engineering (e.g., design of roadside barriers, radius of ramps), enforcement (e.g., presence of law enforcement personnel at critical locations), and emergency medical attention in remote areas. Considering the aging of the truck driver population in the U.S. and around the world, the findings of this study are vital to understand better the importance of safety in relation to large-truck fatal crashes.

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Transportation Research Record, v. 2673, issue 9, p. 297-310