ACCIDENT AND NEAR ACCIDENT CAUSATION: THE CONTRIBUTION OF AUTOMOBILE DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS

A study was conducted to (1) determine the frequency and severity of driver/vehicle design mismatch problem contribution to accidents and near accidents, (2) relate driver and vehicle characteristics to severity and frequency of problems experienced by drivers, (3) develop and validate the method used to measure mismatch problems, and (4) identify vehicle design countermeasures which would reduce problem frequency or severity. Based upon recommendations by experts, literature reviews, focus panels and preliminary question testing, five direct mail questionnaires were developed and pilot tested on a sample of 800 U.S. Government employees. Results were analyzed and a modified questionnaire recommended for a large scale survey of drivers. The questionnaire contained questions on vision, controls, steering, braking, shifting, and seating. Subsequently, a direct mail survey was conducted by three private institutions which surveyed 10,000 drivers from California and New Hampshire. The 3500 returns citing 1691 near accidents or accidents for various mismatch questions were analyzed by driver and vehicle demographic variables. Results strongly indicate that the survey approach is valid and that driver/vehicle design mismatch problems are not trivial as contributors or causes of accidents. Most frequent and severe problems experienced are vision related, e.g., oncoming headlight glare, window obscuration due to weather, and mirror information and glare. Steering and braking problems were also significant. Driver height, age, weight, sex, experience and exposure, and vehicle age, size (type), and model are uniquely related to specific mismatch problems experienced.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Dunlap and Associates, Incorporated

    Western Division, 7765 Girard Street
    Santa Monica, CA  USA  90404

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  USA  20590
  • Authors:
    • BURGER, W J
    • Smith, R L
    • Queen, J E
    • Slack, G B
  • Publication Date: 1977-11

Media Info

  • Pagination: 213 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00169199
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Statistical Reference File, TSC
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-HS-802-714 Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-5-01216
  • Files: NTIS, TSR, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 30 1978 12:00AM