The American Transportation Research Institute has just released research findings that looked into variations in safety trends across different classes of large trucks. The study separated and evaluated a decade of medium- and heavy-duty truck crash records and identified trends, with medium-duty trucks generally performing worse than heavy-duty.

Using what it calls a “crash rate index," ATRI isolated specific variables such as vehicle type, crash location, and weather to determine the degree to which certain factors influenced crash trends for medium and heavy-duty trucks. It says the analysis revealed noticeable differences in safety trends between different truck sizes, with medium-duty generally performing worse than heavy-duty trucks.  In addition, the results indicated disparities between interstate and intrastate motor carriers.

“This research also points out that blending medium-duty crash statistics with heavy-duty crash statistics may unfairly drag down the safety gains made by heavy-duty truck fleets,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves. “When it comes to truck safety, clearly one-size solutions do not fit all scenarios.”

ATRI is the research arm of the American Trucking Associations.

This safety data analysis provides important insight for targeting crash mitigation efforts based on different truck size groups, and highlights important opportunities to reduce crashes and improve safety.

“In order to continue to make progress in truck crash rates, we must improve our ability to target safety strategies across all segments of the industry,” said Keith Klein, COO of Transport America. “This research will enhance our industry’s ability to customize safety solutions.”

ATRI is now expanding this research by investigating the most critical crash factors associated with different truck sizes and configurations, with the goal of encouraging uniform safety improvements across all types of trucks. Included in this expanded analysis will be differences in crash trends between interstate and intrastate motor carriers.

A copy of this report is available from the ATRI website.