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, email@example.com
Sunanda Dissanayake | Newswise Science News
A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences