Large Truck Crash Causation Study

The goal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce the number and severity of large truck- and bus-involved crashes through more commercial motor vehicle and operator inspections and compliance reviews, stronger enforcement measures against violators, expedited completion of rulemaking proceedings, scientifically sound research, and effective CDL testing, recordkeeping, and sanctions.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) was undertaken jointly by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The LTCCS is based on a nationally representative sample of nearly 1,000 injury and fatal crashes involving large trucks that occurred between April 2001 and December 2003. The data collected provide a detailed description of the physical events of each crash, along with an unprecedented amount of information about all the vehicles and drivers, weather and roadway conditions, and trucking companies involved in the crashes.
It defines 10 critical issues for large truck safety, outlines the information needed to address each, assesses how well the LTCCS database fills those needs, and briefly discusses other data that could be used for questions where LTCCS data are not adequate.
The principal conclusions:
• The LTCCS is a general-purpose data file designed primarily for problem identification. It contains more than 1,000 data variables describing all aspects of the drivers, vehicles, and environment in large truck crashes.
• The LTCCS database can be used to investigate crash risk using relative risk methods. With the LTCCS database, these methods apply to many vehicle features, some driver features, and few environmental features. Their usefulness depends on whether there is a suitable control group of crashes in which the feature being examined has no effect.
• While LTCCS is designed as a statistical data file, its individual case reports will be useful for investigative analyses based on in-depth crash reconstructions.
To provide a structure for discussing LTCCS analyses, the authors selected 10 high-priority issues in large truck safety and policy, developed problem statements for each issue, and assessed how useful LTCCS data would be in addressing the problem statements. The issues were selected using the following criteria:
• Relevance (issues involved in enough truck crashes to be worthy of attention).
• Current interest and knowledge (issues actively being investigated).
• Opportunity for intervention (issues that may suggest measures to reduce crashes).
• Feasibility (the relative ease of potential interventions, including costs, timeframes, and implementation requirements).
• Jurisdiction (issues that FMCSA may be able to influence).
• Political priority (issues that FMCSA cannot afford to ignore).