TRUCKS: AN ANALYSIS OF ACCIDENT CHARACTERISTICS BY VEHICLE WEIGHT

One standard for driver licensing requires that drivers be examined for ability to operate the class(es) of vehicle(s) for which they are being licensed. To obtain better information on which to base procedures for licensing operators of large trucks, an analysis was performed of a year's sample of truck crashes reported in North Carolina. Trucks were divided into three groups, namely: (1) large trucks (three-axle trucks and tractor-trailers); (2) intermediate trucks (two-axle trucks more than 24,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)); and (3) small trucks (two- axle trucks weighing 24,000 pounds GVW or less). Major findings include the following: 1. Large trucks are more likely to be involved in single vehicle crashes than are cars or smaller trucks; 2. According to the investigating officer's report, the large truck crashes are hardly ever related to the truck driver's use of alcohol prior to the crash or to other physical conditions such as sleep or fatigue; 3. In single vehicle crashes truck drivers are just as likely to be killed as car drivers; 4. When a car collides with a truck, the car driver nearly always sustains a more severe injury than the truck driver. A relatively high proportion of the accidents involving large trucks and cars are fatal accidents; 5. Truck drivers appear to encounter difficulties in getting their vehicles stopped whether because of brake failure or because of insufficient braking power for the distances involved; 6. Although, on the whole, drivers of large trucks are less likely to be found in violation than drivers of cars, this is not the case in multi-vehicle crashes. In the latter case the truck operator is more likely to be found in violation than is the driver of the car; 7. Trucks in crashes are more likely to be operated as having vehicle defects than is true for cars; 8. Generally, small trucks (two-axle trucks 24,000 pounds GVW and under) appear much like cars on the basis of accident report information, while the heavier two-axle trucks (over 24,000 pounds GVW) appear more like the three-axle and tractor-trailer trucks. Recommendations based on analyses include the following: 1. The fact that the small two-axle trucks appear much like cars on the basis of crash

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report was sponsored by North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  USA  27599
  • Authors:
    • de Savornin Lohman, L S
    • Waller, P F
  • Publication Date: 1975-9

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 72 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00133563
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 15 1976 12:00AM