Hierarchical Bayesian Random Intercept Model-Based Cross-Level Interaction Decomposition for Truck Driver Injury Severity Investigations

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bayesian inference, cross-level interaction, random intercept model, traffic safety, truck driver injury, unobserved heterogeneity

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Traffic crashes occurring on rural roadways induce more severe injuries and fatalities than those in urban areas, especially when there are trucks involved. Truck drivers are found to suffer higher potential of crash injuries compared with other occupational labors. Besides, unobserved heterogeneity in crash data analysis is a critical issue that needs to be carefully addressed. In this study, a hierarchical Bayesian random intercept model decomposing cross-level interaction effects as unobserved heterogeneity is developed to examine the posterior probabilities of truck driver injuries in rural truck-involved crashes. The interaction effects contributing to truck driver injury outcomes are investigated based on two-year rural truck-involved crashes in New Mexico from 2010 to 2011. The analysis results indicate that the cross-level interaction effects play an important role in predicting truck driver injury severities, and the proposed model produces comparable performance with the traditional random intercept model and the mixed logit model even after penalization by high model complexity. It is revealed that factors including road grade, number of vehicles involved in a crash, maximum vehicle damage in a crash, vehicle actions, driver age, seatbelt use, and driver under alcohol or drug influence, as well as a portion of their cross-level interaction effects with other variables are significantly associated with truck driver incapacitating injuries and fatalities. These findings are helpful to understand the respective or joint impacts of these attributes on truck driver injury patterns in rural truck-involved crashes.

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Accident Analysis and Prevention, v. 85, p. 186-198