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summer 05
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What factors contribute to large truck crashes on NC roads?

Nationwide, large trucks are involved in 4 percent of police-reported crashes but represent 8 percent of all fatal crashes. In a crash involving a large truck, it is most often the occupant of the passenger vehicle who is killed, although pedestrians, motorcyclists and truck drivers themselves are also victims.

In a new study funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, HSRC researchers seek to identify and quantify risk factors for involvement in a large truck crash. The state of North Carolina will serve as the test site for the study.

“With the amount of large truck industry in the state, North Carolina was an ideal location for this pilot study,” said HSRC researcher Daniel Carter, who will lead the study efforts. “Working along with the Motor Carrier Enforcement Section of the NC State Highway Patrol, we hope to offer some insight on why we see the types of truck crashes on North Carolina roads that we do.”

Researchers will conduct a thorough data analysis to develop a detailed profile of large truck crashes in the state. The analysis will examine driver, vehicle, roadway, and environmental variables seen in heavy truck crashes as well as look at enforcement and inspection data. The study will also seek to identify factors that are most strongly associated with specific types of heavy truck crashes, such as nighttime crashes, those involving serious injury or those that occur on two-lane rural roads.

Drawing from the data analysis, HSRC will develop a protocol for gathering information from a sample of large trucks involved in crashes, as well as a control sample of non-crash-involved trucks. The protocol will initially be piloted in a few NC counties, with plans to expand to a larger, statewide data collection effort during the second year of the project.

Results from the data analysis are expected to be available in the summer 2007. Ultimately, the researchers plan to collect and analyze detailed data collected prospectively from 300 to 400 heavy truck crashes.

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 300  |  Campus Box 3430  |  Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 919.962.2203  |  Fax: 919.962.8710