Heavy Trucks, Conspicuity Treatment, and the Decline of Collision Risk in Darkness

In Minahan and O'Day's 1977 analysis of fatal car-truck underride crashes in Michigan and Texas, most accidents were found to occur on straight rural roadways at night and a linkage was drawn between the visibility of heavy trucks and crash risk. Subsequent studies have also found that disproportionately more fatal crashes involving angle and rear-end collisions between cars and tractor-semitrailers occur at night. In 1980, the National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a research program to examine truck conspicuity that resulted in the revision of safety standards for conspicuity treatments for tractor-semitrailers. In 2009, a phase-in of conspicuity treatments for tractor-semitrailers in the U.S. was completed; this paper uses logistic regression to analyze crash data from 1987 to 2009 to determine any change in the odds of a rear-end or angle crash occurring in darkness. Findings suggest that conspicuity treatments are most effective in reducing rear-end collisions (approximately 43% reduction) and moderately effective in reducing angle collisions (17% reduction) in darkness.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Sullivan, John M
    • Flannagan, Michael J
  • Publication Date: 2013-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 25-29
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01487361
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 18 2013 1:57PM