When driving next to or passing a large truck on the highway, it is important to drive carefully as trucking accidents often result in fatalities, according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Discussing some of the key risk factors when it comes to trucking collisions is a recent article published by The University of Utah. This article presents a study which lists fatigue, health issues, and cellphones as common items that contribute to deadly crashes.
The conclusions presented in this study are very relevant to Indiana, and should be considered while traveling around any of the freeways that take us to and from Indianapolis: I-65, I-70, I-74, I-465, I-865, etc. The study, conducted by an assistant professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah, explores the various causes of crashes involving semi-trucks, and draws conclusions on the most common of these causes. The study’s author, Matthew Thiese, explains how “conditions that are characteristic to a truck driver’s job may be putting them in danger.” He is careful to point out that he is not suggesting that illegal cellphone use is simply part of the job. He does posit that long and difficult driving conditions, combined with a general lack of exercise, may be playing a role in deadly truck crashes.
To properly assess the factors that contribute to truck accidents, “the researchers surveyed nearly 800 truckers,” determining that both fatigue and cellphone use were “strongly associated with crash risk.” At the same time, the study also determined that high pulse pressure was a risk factor for trucking collisions.
What leads to fatigue and high pulse pressure? Several factors that are considered by researchers as “characteristics common to truck driving,” include, but are not limited to: stress, working long hours, performing heavy lifting, not getting enough sleep, and not getting enough exercise.
Fatigue, cell phone use, and health issues can all play a role in an increased risk of accident for any driver on the road, but this risk is certainly more dangerous when that driver is in control of a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds more than a passenger vehicle. When truckers are not healthy, suffer from fatigue, or use cell phones behind the wheel, the accidents that can happen can be much deadlier.