Public perception of truck drivers
More than 80% of people surveyed have witnessed a commercial vehicle driving dangerously and 45% have seen an accident involving a commercial vehicle. These stats from the US appear to be somewhat slanted as the facts – verified by a telematics company – show the reality to be different.
The facts show that only 3% of all severe crashes in the United States involve commercial vehicles. The survey also found that 83% of drivers of passenger vehicles believe they pose less risk on the highway than truck drivers.
While consumer perceptions around the level of danger posted by commercial drivers may not be fully accurate, these misconceptions are still perceived as reality based on a recent survey.
The reasons behind the misconceptions are shaped by the individual experiences of respondents. More than 80% say they have witnessed a commercial vehicle driving dangerously. Another 45% have seen an accident involving a commercial vehicle. In addition, a large percentage said they have witnessed commercial vehicles speeding, changing lanes abruptly, driving erratically or taking turns too quickly.
About two-thirds also say commercial drivers tend to be more focused on schedules than safety. In densely populated areas, the rate of severe crashes is increasing faster for lighter commercial vehicles (27%) than heavy-duty trucks (16%). Still, 84% of adults living in cities believe all commercial drivers should be required to use video monitoring. That figure is 69% for those in the suburbs and 67% in rural areas.
The survey was conducted earlier this year by Wakefield Research and included 1,000 adults. The company said in a separate research report issued earlier this year that North Dakota, New Mexico and Montana are the three riskiest states for drivers. The three safest states were Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.
That report also found harsh braking and acceleration among commercial drivers declined 22% from 2017 to 2018. The surveying company used information from the US Department of Transportation and Census Bureau, as well as data from over 820 000 vehicles with its fleet management software between January 2017 and April 2019.
The analysis was based on average fatalities per vehicle miles traveled, fatalities per capita, average speeding events per day and average speeding events per mile.
Clearly many think crashes that happen – or more accurately are thought to happen – are influenced by many factors. In this day of electronic ‘wizardry’ there should however be enough evidence to make informed decisions regarding risk.
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