Truck Safety: Past Driving Behaviors Provide Insight into Future Accidents


There is a lot to be said about looking at someone’s past work performance to get an idea of how they will do in the future. This goes for any occupation, including transportation. Look at a previous driver’s performance and behaviors to gain insight into whether he or she is a potential risk for future violations and crashes and to help with hiring and targeted training.

This is precisely what the think tank at the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has done since 2005 in studying the correlation between driver violations and the potential for their involvement in a crash. 

ATRI recently released its 2022 Crash Predictor report, which is based on more than 580,000 individual truck driver records. It identified more than 25 different violations and convictions that increased the likelihood of future crashes, five of which increased future crash likelihood by over 100%. The five behaviors that are consistently strong indicators of future collision involvement are:

  • Reckless driving violation
  • Failure-to-use/improper signal conviction
  • Prior crash
  • Failure to yield right of way violation
  • Improper or erratic lane changes conviction

A failure-to-yield violation and failure-to-use/improper signal conviction are the leading indicators of an increased crash likelihood (an increase of 141% and 116%, respectively). Those drivers with a history of a previous crash had a 113% higher probability of having a future crash than the norm.

Why This Data Is Valuable for Trucking Firms

In having the ability to look at a truck driver’s behaviors to improve predictions of future crashes, trucking firms can do a better job of hiring, training, and supervising drivers. If a driver has a previous violation, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t hire him or her. However, if you do, you have better insight into what type of specific training and supervision to implement to reduce truck-involved accidents.

Be sure to document your decision to hire a driver with a violation, including the training you provided, so that, if there is an accident, you have a record of your efforts to correct the issue. The same goes for your existing drivers. If they have a violation, provide training and document the targeted remedial instruction you have provided. This is critical in defending your hiring decisions and demonstrating the steps taken to provide proper training when an accident occurs, and there is a subsequent lawsuit. Research shows that when juries consider awards in trucking accident cases, the amount and level of training trucking firms provide to their drivers are among the many factors they consider. 

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage specializing in commercial truck insurance. We know this stuff and want to make sure you do too. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. They also value how our state-of-the-art automation provides lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.