June 2003 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
concluded in part that passenger car drivers share a greater responsibility
for car/truck crashes than truckdrivers.
to the report, "An Analysis of Fatal Large Truck Crashes,"
rear-end fatal collisions where passenger cars strike commercial
motor vehicles are almost four times as likely as trucks rear-ending
head-on collisions with passenger cars in the truck's lane occur
more than 10 times as often as the truck encroaching in the passenger
car's lane. In addition, opposite direction sideswipes involving
a passenger car striking the truck in the truck's lane occur more
than 12 times as often as trucks encroaching on the passenger car.
study analyzed different types of fatal crashes involving passenger
vehicles and large trucks (more than 10,000 pounds GVWR). It was
done by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis to examine
the characteristics of large fatal truck crashes. Fatal crashes
involving single-unit and combination trucks were studied. Two-vehicle
crashes consisting of a large truck and one other vehicle were examined
for vehicle and driver-related factors.
study used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
from 1996 to 2000 and from the University of Michigan Transportation
Research Institute's Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents Survey.
Characteristics of large truck crashes, including rollovers and
jackknifes, were analyzed.
study concluded the following:
over half of all large truck fatalities occur on non-divided two-lane
roads. The large truck fatal crash problem is neither on interstates,
nor on major highways – it is on non-divided two-lane roads.
- The relative
positions of the vehicles just prior to the crash can be a contributing
factor to the crash. For example, using all fatalities as an outcome
measure, about 10 times as many fatalities result in sideswipe opposite-director
crashes where the passenger vehicle encroached into the truck’s
lane, compared with sideswiped opposite-direction crashes where
the truck encroached into the passenger vehicle’s lane. “This might
suggest that the drivers of the passenger vehicles are somewhat
more reckless or overconfident than the large truckdrivers,” the
speed limit of 55 mph or higher, poor weather and a curved road
significantly increase the odds of both a rollover and a jackknife
for large trucks. As the weight of the large truck and its cargo
increases, the odds of a rollover increase, but the odds of a
jackknife decrease. Conversely, as the length of a large truck
increases, the odds of a rollover decrease, while the odds of
a jackknife increase.
copy of the full report can be downloaded at: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/.