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Research project with MAN Truck & Bus AG on highway accidents

In a joint research project with MAN Truck & Bus AG, the AZT investigated accidents involving trucks with a maximum gross weight of 7.5 tons or more on German highways (“Autobahn”).

Source: Pixabay


December 2021


The purpose of the study was to get a representative picture of the accident situation. Hereby the objective was to describe conflict-triggering situations, environmental conditions and driving scenarios and, if possible, to identify corner cases.

Corner cases are accidents that "stand out" from the rest of the accident scene, i.e., they cannot be assigned to frequently occurring accident situations. In the safeguarding of future highly automated driving functions, these accidents are of particular interest because they are potentially less obvious and therefore have a high value for the safety analysis.

To answer the various questions, more than 1,000 highway accidents were selected from the set of all Allianz claims from 2019. These cases were evaluated in detail, analyzed for certain characteristics and the results entered into an accident database.


Key findings of the study:

- A large proportion of accidents occur during or as a result of a lane change by the truck. In most cases, restricted visibility conditions of the truck driver - especially on the passenger side - play a crucial role. These accidents also happen more frequently at highway interchanges. Here the truck driver may be forced to change lanes due to branching or merging lanes, which leads to an increase in the number of claims.

- Another focus is rear-end collisions. The reason is often the driver's distraction or inattention. Here, the crash may vary widely in terms of seriousness, depending on the traffic situation on the highway at that moment. Traffic jams that occur unexpectedly can lead to particularly serious accidents.

- Another frequent occurrence is the vehicle drifting off the road to the left or right. However, the existing crash barriers can usually prevent serious accidents. Minor side collisions, mostly with passenger cars, are more common in construction areas.

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