The author discusses work that has been carried out relating psychological behaviour to road accidents. Mention is made of the small effort that is being applied in this area in relation to the high cost of accident (615 million lb/year). A table breakdown of the importance of environment, vehicle, road-user, and combinations of these causal factors is given, and a figure of 80 to 85 per cent quoted for the proportion of accidents that involve some degree of human error. Causes of accidents are discussed, and the two commonest road user errors are given as failure to see a hazard and excessive speed with regard to conditions. Improved engineering rather than training is believed to be the best solution to the first error and is examined with particular reference to a study of Bantu bus drivers in Johannesburg, where personality tests successfully identified high-accident drivers. This is followed by an account of studies of normal driver behaviour which have provided useful data relating to accidents which includes studies of mental loads (particularly the visual processes) and comparisons of experienced and novice drivers. The article concludes by discussing the effect of alcohol and other drugs on driving performance. American studies suggest that 15-20 per cent of drivers are under the influence of drugs. Work by Birmingham University is discussed which suggests that commonly prescribed tranquillisers have a marked effect on performance. /TRRL/

  • Corporate Authors:

    New Science Publications

    128 Long Acre
    London,   England  WC2 9QH
  • Authors:
    • Clayton, A
  • Publication Date: 1975-7-3

Media Info

  • Features: Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 20-22
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00129571
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 7 1976 12:00AM