This study explores the differences between urban and rural driver injuries (both passenger-vehicle and large-truck driver injuries) in accidents that involve large trucks (in excess of 10,000 pounds). Using 4 years of California accident data, and considering four driver-injury severity categories (no injury, complaint of pain, visible injury, and severe/fatal injury), a multinomial logit analysis of the data was conducted. Significant differences with respect to various risk factors including driver, vehicle, environmental, road geometry and traffic characteristics were found to exist between urban and rural models. For example, in rural accidents involving tractor-trailer combinations, the probability of drivers' injuries being severe/fatal increased about 26% relative to accidents involving single-unit trucks. In urban areas, this same probability increased nearly 700%. In accidents where alcohol or drug use was identified as being the primary cause of the accident, the probability of severe/fatal injury increased roughly 250% percent in rural areas and nearly 800% in urban areas. While many of the same variables were found to be significant in both rural and urban models (although often with quite different impact), there were 13 variables that significantly influenced driver-injury severity in rural but not urban areas, and 17 variables that significantly influenced driver-injury severity in urban but not rural areas. We speculate that the significant differences between rural and urban injury severities may be at least partially attributable to the different perceptual, cognitive and response demands placed on drivers in rural versus urban areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health