Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Steering Safety: Research Looks at Factors in Truck-Related Fatalities and Injuries to Reduce Accidents

18.06.2012
Two Kansas State University civil engineers are working to make Kansas roads and highways safer by reducing the number and severity of vehicular crashes that involve large, cargo-carrying trucks.

Sunanda Dissanayake, associate professor of civil engineering, and Siddhartha Kotikalapudi, master's student in civil engineering, India, are looking at five years' worth of statistics about crashes involving commercial trucks. Although large trucks account for just 3 percent of registered vehicles in the U.S., truck-related crashes tend to be more severe than non-truck crashes.

"In 2009 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recorded that one out of every 10 traffic fatalities in the U.S. was a result from collisions involving large trucks," Dissanayake said. "When you consider that between 30,000 to 35,000 people die each year in all motor vehicle crashes, it's a pretty significant issue."

Dissanayake and Kotikalapudi are currently in the second phase of their study, titled "Study of characteristics and evaluation of factors associated with large truck crashes," which is being funded by the Mid-America Transportation Center.

Using information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System -- a comprehensive database with statistics about fatal crashes -- the researchers analyzed truck-related fatalities throughout the nation for the first phase. Currently, they are analyzing Kansas data from 2004-2008 and identifying the characteristics and factors that contributed to the crashes. A total of 18,919 crashes involving large trucks were recorded in the state throughout those five years. Of those accidents involving another vehicle, 81 percent ended with fatalities to occupants in the other vehicles, Dissanayake said.

To find the cause of these truck crashes, the engineers studied the driver, road, vehicle and environmental characteristics involved in accident.

Researchers found that among the 18,9191 truck crashes in Kansas, 13,260 -- or 73 percent -- were contributory causes related to the truck driver. Failing to give enough time and attention to the task being completed -- such as switching lanes, passing another vehicle, etc. -- was the biggest contributor to driver-related crashes. Similarly, speeding, failing to yield the right of way, improper lane changes and following another vehicle too closely made up the top five contributors.

"Even though it may not feel that way, there are a lot of processes going on when you drive," Dissanayake said. "Your brain is getting lots of information and processing it to determine what your action will be. So if a driver misses a detail or doesn't give enough time to process that information related to what they are doing, it could lead to a crash."

Other causes contributing to truck crashes included: environmental-related, such as animals or rain -- 13 percent; road-related, such as ice or wet asphalt -- 7.8 percent; and vehicle-related, such as falling cargo or defective brakes -- 6.1 percent.

Additionally, researchers found:

* Nearly 78 percent of truck-crashes happened during daylight and with no adverse weather conditions like rain or snow.

* A majority of the truck crashes happened between noon and 3 p.m.

* More truck crashes happened in locations with a high speed limit.

Dissanayake and Kotikalapudi are using these findings, as well as those from statistical models based on the data, to develop new safety guidelines and educational tools for truck drivers in an effort to reduce truck-related crashes.

Similarly, recommendations may also be made for new or amended legislation -- both for the truck drivers and other drivers -- Dissanayake said.

"Kansas recently introduced the Click It or Ticket seat belt law, for example," she said. "The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $10. Some people may feel that a $10 fine is affordable and is not a deterrent to have their freedom compromised, so that might be an issue that needs to be looked into further."

Dissanayake has studied several other traffic engineering and safety topics, including accidents on gravel roads and why older drivers are involved in more severe accidents.

Sunanda Dissanayake, 785-532-1540, sunanda@k-state.edu

Sunanda Dissanayake | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>