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07/01

Study Differentiates Safety Levels for Trucks of Different Sizes

Posted by: Jack Bernstein

TruckingWhen people who are not part of the trucking industry think of trucks, they tend to lump them all together in their heads and thing of big 18-wheelers rolling down the highway hauling enormous amounts of cargo.  Few people outside of the industry know that there are several different types and classes of trucks, and these sizes are generally defined by the weight that they carry.  Most people understand that driving a truck is a difficult job for many reasons, not the least of which is having to navigate vehicles that weigh tens of thousands of pounds through tight fits and heavy traffic conditions.

The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal and by different state governments, and that’s one of the reasons that it tends to take a look at itself regularly to determine how it’s performing on a large scale.  Recently, an exhaustive study was done by a team of researchers that was intended to differentiate the relative crash rates of larger trucks as compared to trucks that do not fall into that category based on their weight.  Their conclusion was somewhat surprising to many people.

The researchers were from the American Transportation Research Institute, or the ATRI, and the study that they published was entitled, “Large Truck Safety Trends.”  The study differentiated between medium-sized trucks and large trucks.  Medium-sized trucks weighed between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds, and large trucks were those that weighed more than 26,000 pounds.  The researchers also came up with a variable known as CRI, or Crash Rate Index in order to account for differences that arose in terrain, traffic conditions, weather conditions and other factors that could have had an effect on the statistics.

After all of these steps were taken, the researchers determined that between the years of 2000 and 2010, large trucks had a CRI that dropped by a factor of 24.6 percent.  However, medium-sized trucks saw their CRI rise by a factor of 38.3 percent during that same time period.  The data revealed that medium-sized trucks driving in urban counties experienced the largest rise in the number of accidents that occurred during the study’s timeframe and that non-interstate travel also saw an increase in its CRI.

The results of this study were a surprise because most people would assume that larger trucks would be more likely to be involved in accidents.  That’s because they are harder to maneuver, they are easier to hit because they are bigger and it takes longer for them to slow down because of the weight that they are carrying.  This study may change that perception and it could lead to some changes in the way in which these vehicles are regulated.

People who are wrongfully injured in truck accidents likely are not in a position to deal with all of the regulations and norms of the industry as they fight to recover compensation.  If you or someone you love has been injured in this manner, contact the Las Vegas accident lawyers at Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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