Driver Behaviors as Predictors of Crashes


Driver Behavior Can Predict Some Crashes

Driver behavior is responsible for most crashes. Bad driver behaviors. Behaviors as errors and violations affect safe driving.  Errors are slips, lapses, and mistakes. Errors may be dangerous errors or relatively harmless lapses. While violations decline with age, errors generally do not.

. . . driving errors underlie crash involvement for older adults. Such errors include seeing another vehicle but misjudging the time available to proceed, failing to yield the right of way, making improper turns or improper stops, failing to see another vehicle, and speeding.

Violations are not errors, but rather the style in which the driver chooses to drive that becomes an ingrained habit after years of driving.

Certain driving errors and violations have been found to be predictive of crashes. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) studied the driving behaviors of over a half-million truck drivers.

ATRI found the number one bad behavior, increasing the driver’s likelihood of a future crash by 96 percent, was a conviction for a “failure to use/improper signal.”

Driver Behaviors as Predictors of Crashes
Driver Behavior Crash Probability Increase
Failure to use or improper signal conviction 96%
Past crash 88%
Improper passing violation 88%
Improper turn conviction 84%
Improper or erratic lane change conviction 80%
Failure to maintain proper lane/location
Failure to obey traffic sign 68%
Speeding conviction (15 mph over speed limit) 67%
Any conviction 65%
Reckless/careless/inattentive/negligent driving

In vetting a new hire or preforming an annual review, a driver’s record can carry a lot of weight, especially if the driver has some bad driving habits as above, or other habits that can be just as bad — as not wearing a safety belt while driving, or driving distracted (texting or using a hand-held cell phone), etc.

ATRI recommends motor carriers (1.) become aware of the problem behaviors, and (2.) address these behavioral issues “prior to them leading to serious consequences.”

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