The Close to Home Effect in Road Crashes

The notion that most crashes happen close to home has been repeated so often it has come to be an accepted truth. Despite this, to the authors’ knowledge there have not been any studies to date which have adequately accounted for rates of exposure in drawing conclusions concerning relative crash risk and distance from home. The authors addressed this gap by using data representative of all travel (from the New Zealand Household Travel Survey) and crashes in New Zealand, by New Zealand drivers, from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. Trip origins, destinations and driver home address were used to convert 31,102 trips into travel exposure on roads at increasing distance from home. Travel data were compared with crash distance from home for 6,295 injury crashes involving 9,315 drivers. Analysis showed that on average, drivers were indeed more likely to crash close to home. Roads within 11 km (6.8 miles) of home accounted for half of all travel and 62% of all crashes. The ‘close to home’ effect held for male and female drivers. Novice (learner) drivers were the only demographic subgroup to not exhibit the close to home effect. Compared with crashes further away, crashes close to home were more likely to involve alcohol and diverted attention, and less likely to involve driver fatigue. These findings provide a mandate for continued investigation into the science of typical, everyday driving. The authors contend that behavioral effects associated with driving on familiar roads may be a factor in injury crash risk for experienced drivers.


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  • Accession Number: 01643047
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 3 2017 5:07PM