The Department of Transportation announces that researchers and analysts now have access to detailed data about the events surrounding truck crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has posted online the database from its recent Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS). The study was conducted in order to create a database that focuses on the specific factors that increase the risk of crashes, the first of its kind in the U.S. for any type of vehicle. According to the study, drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance. Action or inaction by the driver of either the truck or other vehicle was the critical reason for 88 percent of the crashes. In this case, the FMCSA defines “truck” as a vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for carrying property, with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of more than 10,000 lbs. The goal was to investigate a nationally representative sample of at least 1,000 large truck fatal and serious injury crashes within three years. Data was collected at 24 sites in 16 States. When notified of a crash, a researcher and a State truck inspector went immediately to the crash scene and recorded extensive data—sometimes as many as 1,000 data elements. When fully analyzed, LTCCS data will provide a group of factors that increase the risk of large truck crashes. These factors will enable FMCSA to better focus existing crash prevention programs and to design new and more effective programs and countermeasures. The data from the study, along with the original report to Congress, data tables, and other study information, may be downloaded from the FMCSA Web site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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