Exploratory Study of Mechanisms by Which Exposure Influences Accident Occurrence

A study explores mechanisms by which exposure influences accident occurrence. The study is based on a previous one in which exposure was defined as the occurrence of specific events that represent an opportunity for an accident to happen. Four such events were considered: encounters, simultaneous arrivals in intersections or at pedestrian crossing facilities, lane changes, and braking. A review is done of some studies that permit the shape of the relationship between the number of events and the probability of accident occurrence to be determined. It is found that, in general, the rate of accidents per event falls sharply as the number of events increases. This finding can be interpreted as a learning curve: the more often road users encounter a specific event, the more skillful they become in recognizing and controlling the risks involved in that event. A measure of learning efficiency is proposed, and it is shown that learning efficiency varies between different types of events. It is suggested that the complexity, controllability, and predictability of an event influence learning efficiency. More complex, less controllable, and less predictable events reduce learning efficiency because these events are associated with cognitive overload and violation of road user expectations. Examples are given of events of varying degrees of complexity, controllability, and predictability. Another mechanism by which events involving conflict or physical contact between road users become recorded as accidents is incompatibility, which refers to differences in the kinetic energy produced by different types of vehicles and the degree to which they protect road users from impact.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01153418
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309142793
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0142
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:08AM