Report numberRA-2006-85
TitleTruck accidents at traffic-jams
SubtitleInternational literature search about causal and/or contributing factors
AuthorsKarin Van Vlierden
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages35
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Behaviour

In international literature, we search for factors that are at the basis of, or contribute to rear-end collisions of trucks at traffic-jams. We represent the factors as advised in the Systems Approach of Zein and Navin, that means divided up into three entities (the road user, the vehicle and the road environment) and over three pre-crash timeline phases (creation, cultivation and conduct).


In the absence of specific literature about collisions of trucks at traffic jams, we rely on studies about truck collisions in general, about rear-end collisions involving all sorts of vehicles and about workzone collisions in general.


For truck collisions in general, we found the following driver related causal and contributing factors: age, alcohol use, fatigue/illness, speeding, inattention/distraction and lane changing. Vehicle related factors are technological defects and the regular construction/dimensions of trucks. Finally environment related factors are traffic volume, time of day, wether conditions and sight obstruction. The role of familiarity with specific roads needs further investigation.


There is a high incidence of rear-end collisions, particularly in times of high traffic volumes, when headways are short. Inattention, speeding, alcohol and drug use, age and gender of the driver, unfamiliarity with the road, eye sight and sensitivity, vehicle type and sight obstruction are contributing factors.


The main causal and/or contributing factors of work zone collisions are related to speed limits and speeding, lane changing, warning and traffic signs.


From the factors found in the literature, we finally deduce hypotheses, which underlie future research about truck accidents at traffic-jams in Flanders. This research will take place in the course of 2006.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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