Geographical Analysis of Commercial Motor Vehicle Hazardous Materials Crashes on the Oregon State Highway System

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Environmental Hazards

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Cluster analysis, Commercial motor vehicle crashes, Hazardous materials, State highway network


Crashes on highways frequently cause hazardous material exposure to the public and the environment. We evaluated differences in hazardous materials-related crashes vs. non-hazardous-material-related commercial motor vehicle crashes occurring from 2000 to 2006 on the Oregon state highway network. The two groups were compared for crash characteristics by χ2 analysis, and spatial clustering was tested using Ripley's K-function and kernel density estimator analyses. There were 8,622 total commercial motor vehicle crashes, 232 being hazardous-materials related. Hazardous materials-related crashes were not significantly associated with different road surface conditions, weather conditions or cause of crash. Hazardous materials-related crashes were associated more frequently with late evening/early morning hours and under artificial lights or at dusk. The commercial motor vehicle drivers in hazardous materials-related crashes were less frequently at fault than ones in the non-hazardous materials-related crashes. The planar Ripley's K-function indicated non-hazardous materials-related crashes were more clustered than hazardous materials-related ones. Both cohorts clustered at the 12–14 mile range. The kernel density estimator analysis indicated hazardous materials-related clusters are small and discrete along the main highway corridors, non-Hazardous materials-related ones seemed to form elongated confluent clusters along all highways. Since there seem to be few differences between the two cohorts in characteristics of the crashes and the frequency of hazardous materials-related crashes is low compared to the total commercial vehicle crashes, future geographical studies may focus on characteristics of all commercial motor vehicle crashes.


© Taylor and Francis



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