FMCSA plans new large study on truck crashes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments from the public and trucking industry stakeholders on how best to design and conduct a new large study to identify factors contributing to truck crashes. The last comprehensive large truck crash causation study (LTCCS) was conducted more than 15 years ago.

The latest study should yield information that will help adopt measures to significantly reduce the crash rate, the agency said in an announcement published in the Federal Register. It said the study will help improve its ability to:

  • Evaluate crashes involving large trucks and identify emerging trends;
  • Monitor crash trends and identify causes and contributing factors; and
  • Develop effective safety improvement policies and programs.

The 2001-03 study provided valuable insight into the factors which contribute to crashes involving at least one commercial motor vehicle. A primary finding was that in the vast majority of crashes where the critical reason for the crash was assigned to the large truck, it was attributed to a driver-related action or inaction, the agency said.

It noted that since the first research, many changes in technology, vehicle safety, driver behavior and road design have occurred that effect how a driver performs. Fatal crashes involving large trucks decreased until 2009 when they hit their lowest point in recent years (2,893 fatal crashes). Since 2009, fatal crashes involving large trucks have steadily increased to 4,415 fatal crashes in 2018, a 52.6% increase from 2009. And during 2016-18, fatal crashes rose 5.7%, the agency said.

“This study will help FMCSA identify factors that are contributing to the growth in fatal large truck crashes, and in both injury and property damage only (PDO) crashes.

These factors will drive new initiatives to reduce crashes,” it added.

Comments must be received on or before March 16.

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