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Prior Traffic Violations Predict Truck Drivers Likelihood of Future Accidents

How would you predict a truck driver’s likelihood of getting into an accident?  You might be surprised by the answer.  582,772 truck drivers were studied between 2007 and 2009, and a driver’s risk of a future accident increased by more than 50% when he/she had certain prior traffic convictions. 

A prior accident ranked second, with an 88% probability, in the study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).  Tied for second place was an improper passing violation.  Down the list: improper turn conviction came in at an 84% risk, improper or erratic lane change at 80%, improper lane or location and failure to obey a traffic sign both at 68%, speeding at more than 15 mph over the speed limit at 67%, any prior driving conviction at 65%, and finally, reckless careless inattentive or negligent driving came in at 64%.  

So, what’s the violation that gave truck drivers the greatest chance of being involved in a future accident?  Failure to use a turn signal!  The study found that a driver with a prior citation for failure to use a turn signal increased his/her chance of being in a future accident by 96%! 

Despite these statistics, truck on car collision rates are at an all time low, according to Dan Murray, Vice President of Research at ATRI.  The “fundamentals of good driving behavior” is crucial to keeping up the downward trend, he says.  And, the rate of truck driver’s convictions for a variety of offenses has also been on the decline in recent years.  

What does this mean for all of us on the roads across the country everyday?  Hopefully what this indicates is that truck drivers are practicing safer driving techniques, making everyone on the roads safer and decreasing your risk of being involved in a collision with a semi. 

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