Driver injuries in heavy vs. light and medium truck local crashes, 2010–2019

Terry Lee Bunn, Madison Liford, Michael Turner, Ashley Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Multiple heavy truck driver injury studies exist, but there is a paucity of research on light and medium truck driver injuries. The objective of this study was to use first report of injury (FROI) data to: (a) compare demographic and injury characteristics; (b) assess workers’ compensation (WC) claim disposition and lost work time status; and (c) describe injury scenarios by vehicle type for heavy truck and light/medium truck driver local crashes. Method: Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims FROI quantitative and free text data were analyzed for years 2010–2019. Of 800 total FROIs, 451 involved heavy trucks and 349 involved light or medium trucks. Results: There was a higher light/medium truck driver crash FROI rate compared to the heavy truck driver crash FROI rate. There was a higher proportion of younger light/medium truck driver crash FROIs compared to younger heavy truck driver crash FROIs. The retail trade industry made up the largest percentage of light/medium truck local crash FROIs (47%); the transportation and warehousing industry was most frequently cited in heavy truck FROIs (46%). The heavy truck types most frequently identified in FROIs were semi-trucks (13%) and dump trucks (11%). The most common light/medium truck type identified was delivery trucks (30%). Most commonly, heavy truck crash FROIs involved rollovers, driving off/overcorrecting on narrow roadways, and driving downhill/unable to downshift. Light/medium truck crash FROIs most frequently involved being rear-ended, running red lights, and turning in front of other vehicles. Conclusions: The utilization of WC FROI data highlighted top injury scenarios and specific vehicle types for targeting driver safety training among truck drivers, particularly light/medium truck drivers. Road safety policies regarding driver training, crash reviews, and in-vehicle monitoring systems are needed for truck drivers with previous crash injuries, especially for light and medium truck drivers. Practical applications: Enhanced safety training on speeding on narrow roadways, on nearing intersections, and on downshifting on hills is needed for semi-truck, dump truck, and coal truck drivers with previous crash injuries. Rear-end crash prevention training (e.g., gradual stopping and checking mirrors) is needed for drivers of furniture, automotive parts and accessories, and groceries and soft drink delivery trucks with previous crash injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Safety Research
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Injury scenarios
  • Light truck crash injuries
  • Medium truck crash injuries
  • Rear-end crash injuries
  • Wholesale and retail trade industries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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