Driver Behavior Causing Truck Crashes

Summer Operations to cover Michiganfrom “Border to Border”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                              July 8, 2005


EAST LANSING.  In response to a national study, the Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division is planning several “Border to Border” truck enforcement operations on major freeways to reduce truck-related crashes. 


The U.S. Department of Transportation has been collecting data for their Large Truck Crash Causation Study.  Michigan was a participant in the study.  While the final study report has not been released, preliminary conclusions found that driver factors are up to ten times more prevalent than vehicle or environmental factors in causing truck crashes.  Accordingly, Ms. Annette Sandberg, administrator of USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is calling for states to increase their enforcement activities focused on driver factors.


The Motor Carrier Division will conduct several unannounced operations on certain freeways that involve enforcement personnel across the state.  Motor Carrier officers will place significant emphasis on driver behaviors such as speeding, improper lane use, following too closely, seat belt usage, drug and alcohol use, driver fatigue, and proper driver licenses. 


Michigan experienced an increase in truck involved crashes during calendar year 2004.  In 2004, there were a total of 16,696 truck involved crashes (16,518 in 2003; 16,789 in 2002), of which there were 120 that involved a fatality (111 in 2003; 132 in 2002), resulting in 128 deaths (122 in 2003; 151 in 2002).


Studies show that in truck-car crashes, the driver of the passenger car is at fault 70-80% of the time.  Driver behavior is the most prevalent cause for both truck and car drivers.



Captain Robert R. Powers, Jr., MSP Motor Carrier Division, (517) 336-6447


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