A bird's eye view of driving safety culture: Truck drivers' perceptions of unsafe driving behaviors near their trucks

Work. 2019;64(2):187-194. doi: 10.3233/WOR-192985.


Background: Transportation accidents are a global health concern and a leading cause of death.

Objective: A pragmatic way to decrease these accidents is to examine the routine opportunities that lead to them. Opportunities for accidents were identified by qualitatively examining the tacit knowledge possessed by truck drivers who observe unsafe driving behaviors near their trucks.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 158 truck drivers from 30 states in the United States (US) and three Canadian provinces. During the interviews, truck drivers made 703 observations of unsafe actions they routinely observe car drivers doing near their trucks. The observations were coded and analyzed with the assistance of a qualitative data analysis software program.

Results: The findings revealed 20 unsafe driving behaviors that lead to elevated risk for car drivers. The most common unsafe action (observed by 89% of truckers) involved cars passing trucks and then cutting back into their lane too soon - the 'front no zone' safe space. Driving distractions comprised the second group of most commonly observed risky behaviors.

Conclusions: The findings reveal that new drivers should receive truck driver awareness training as part of their licensing process and that public health campaigns be developed on the risks of driving near trucks.

Keywords: Traffic safety; distracted driving; lone workers; occupational risks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / standards
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health / standards
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Perception*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk-Taking
  • Safety Management / standards*
  • Safety Management / statistics & numerical data