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Researchers examine causes of fatal truck accidents

Two university civil engineers are currently analyzing previous truck accidents in an attempt to create new educational tools and safety guidelines for truckers in the hopes of reducing the number of fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers. The reasoning behind the study is due to the fact that even though commercial trucks only make up a small percentage of vehicles on the roadways, those truck accidents tend to lead to more serious injuries and fatalities to other drivers.

The two gathered information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. They focused on one state for the 2004 - 2008 years, which involved a total of 18,919 crashes. The researchers analyzed the causes of those accidents by looking at environmental factors, the road and the truck driver.

From there it was determined that of those crashes, slightly more than 80 percent resulted in fatalities to the drivers or passengers in the other vehicles. More than 70 percent of the time, the truck driver was also responsible for the accident.

Common reasons for the fatal truck accidents included a truck driver following too closely to another vehicle, not paying attention, speeding and failing to yield to the other vehicle that actually had the right of way.

The two researchers also found that the majority of truck accidents happen between noon and 3 p.m. on roadways where there are higher speed limits. Additionally, close to 80 percent of truck accidents happen during the day when there are no dangerous road conditions, like rain or snow.


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