Iowa Study: Heavy Trucks More Likely to Crash in the Early Morning or Early Afternoon

A recent study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University, found that fatal accidents in Iowa were twice as likely to involve a heavy truck compared to the rest of the nation. Researchers from the Center for Transportation Research and Education looked at crash data from 2010 and found that 16.5 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes in Iowa involved a heavy truck (i.e. a truck with two or three axles, and combination tractor trailers). During the same year in the U.S., 7.8 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes involved a heavy truck. 

  • Heavy truck crashes were more likely to happen in the early morning hours between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., and in the early afternoon hours between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Severe crashes were not as prevalent in areas with more law enforcement present.

  • Older drivers were more susceptible to severe injuries in crashes than younger drivers.

  • Crashes that happen in the beginning of the week or on weekends were more likely to result in serious injuries. 

Researchers involved with the study say there is no correlation between crash frequency and variables such as gender, age or commercial driver's license history. The hope is that this study will be used to push forward education for commercial truckers on the importance of being alert after extended break periods, specifically early in the morning. Researchers also would like the findings to be used by law enforcement agencies to develop schedules and establish patrol priorities.