ATRI’s Latest Crash Predictor Model

Recently, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a new study. I think that you will find the results of the study incredibly interesting. You can read the study at:

The reason that I am sharing this study is that the study was very large and complete, and I believe that the results are quite reliable. Note that the data/study is all based on American statistics. They studied 583,805 drivers (well over half a million truck drivers) and two years of data was used (2017 and 2018). Interestingly, 6.6% of the drivers had “at least one conviction.”

For me, studying more than a half million drivers and relating their convictions and crashes together is hugely valuable. This study is what trucking companies and their insurers use to determine if you are a good
fit to drive for their company. The study takes all of a driver’s information, previous violations, previous convictions and prior crashes and puts it together in an easy-to-understand format.

As I am a trucking safety geek, if I was hiring drivers, this would be the guide that I would use. So, I think each and every one of you truck drivers that are perhaps looking for a new job, should be aware of this study. You could even reference the study in your job interview and say that you don’t have any of these types of violations, as statistically, this makes you a safe driver.

So, what are some of the predictors of a future crash? Please remember that when we are talking about “predictors of future crashes”, this doesn’t mean that you WILL be involved in a crash. It is an indication that you are more LIKELY to be involved in a collision.

According to this study:

  • If you have a violation for “failure to yield the right of way” you are 141% more likely to be involved in a crash
  • If you have a violation for “failure to use/improper signal conviction” you are 116% more likely to be involved in a crash
  • If you have either of these two previous violations, you are statistically more likely to have a crash than those drivers with a past crash on their record
  • If you are one of the drivers who have a “past crash” on your record, you are 113% more likely to have a future accident
  • A “reckless driving violation” puts you at 104% more likely to have a crash

According to this study, the above convictions all indicate that you are more likely to have a crash than if you have a previous speeding conviction. A speeding conviction (1 to 15 mph over) or violation only puts you at 48%. I think that many drivers have had a speeding violation and yet, on the list of what predicts a future crash, there are 12 items that are deemed worse than speeding.

If you are a driver with a speeding violation, you can explain this in your interview for a new position. Tell the recruiter that you made a mistake, that you are very remorseful for the mistake, but at least it is not one of the other violations that this study shows are greater than 50% to likely have a crash.

A conviction puts you at 46% more likely to have a future crash.

If you have wondered about “why do all recruiters want to see an up-to-date abstract”, now you know. They and their insurance companies want to know what your past driving record is like, as your past predicts the future. Oh, I hear some of you telling me that “I can change, that speeding ticket I received has slowed me down and now I don’t rush”. That may be true for some of you, but for most of us, change is not that easy. We might make the change in the short term, but a year from when we received that ticket, have we really changed?

We all know that changing a habit is very difficult. I have some habits that I have been trying to change for 40 years and I have not yet been successful. I can change for a short period of time, but permanent change for some of my bad habits still eludes me after many years of trying.

As mentioned previously, another geeky stat is that 6.6% of truck drivers will have a crash. Wow! That says to me that almost 7 out of 100 drivers will be involved in a crash. And the crash does not have to be your fault.

The ATRI study, basically says that if you have a violation, conviction, or a past crash, you are more likely to be involved in a future crash. How much more likely? Well, that depends on past events. No wonder recruiters and insurance companies want to see your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) or Abstract. It is a predictor of the future. Hooray for “clean abstracts!” If you have some time I encourage each of you to read this study, I think it’s important information for everyone to have.

Stay safe. 

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.