Motorcycles into barrier impacts
This project is jointly funded by RTA, MAA, Transport NZ, The Australian Automobile Association and West Australia Main Roads Office of Road Safety. It is focussed on investigating and characterising motorcycle into barrier impacts, fatalities and injuries associated with such impacts and how to reduce the injuries resulting from such crashes utilising innovative injury mitigating engineered systems. The project is also investigating what are the survivability envelopes in such crashes. Any engineered systems will be assessed in terms of the human-structure biomechanical interaction during a crash and will also assess if the proposed injury mitigation strategy affects a barrier's crash and redirection characteristics for other types of vehicles.
Vehicle Rollover Crashworthiness
Rollover crashes account for 12% of all people killed on roads and a disproportionately high 24% of vehicle occupants are killed in vehicles that roll over. Rollovers also account for around 17% of all spinal injuries. This project will focus on establishing which combination of vehicle rollover crash severity, roll kinematics, biomechanical injury criteria, crash test dummy, and restraint systems, address the major proportion of rollover fatalities and serious injuries. The research team will also determine which vehicle components (roof strength, roof geometry, restraint systems, air curtains, etc), or combination thereof, provide the most effective, practical, and cost efficient rollover injury mitigation strategies for regulators, industry and consumers to consider and adopt.
The relationship between fatigue, sleepiness and crash risk
This project is looking at the accuracy with which drivers can judge their own fatigue and declining driving performance in both a driving simulator and on-road using an instrumented vehicle. Current road safety advice to drivers tells them to 'take a break when you feel tired'. Unfortunately, there is some doubt over whether people are very accurate at determining when they are too tired to drive. The results of this project will help to develop better strategies for managing driver fatigue.
Safer cycling: A partnership project to better understand cycling patterns, hazards, and incidents
The project is following a cohort of cyclists over a 12-month period, obtaining information about their cycling patterns, injury and near miss experiences, and attitudinal and behavioural factors, in order to:
- Develop measures of cyclist crash, near miss and injury rates for a broadly representative population of cyclists from metropolitan and regional New South Wales
- Identify factors that contribute to crash, near miss and injury rates, e.g. human factors and road environment.Assess the risks for cyclists associated with cycling on roads, bicycle lanes and cycle ways.
Employing information collected during crash investigations to address several key road safety issues; The IRMRC Crash Investigation Study (ICIS)
The IRMRC Crash Investigation Study (ICIS) will involve detailed crash investigation of a random selection of approximately 100 police-reported injury crashes in the Sydney region and selected rural areas of NSW, in order to provide information about the causes, patient journey and cost to the community of a sample of severe road trauma cases in NSW. The objective is to gain a greater understanding of the:
- true burden and cost of major road crashes resulting in injuries; and
- mechanisms producing the injuries which will enable the causes to be addressed by road authorities and partner agencies.
Preventing injuries in crashes involving young drivers: Development and evaluation of impulse control training
Young drivers are overrepresented in crash statistics, partly because of their risk-taking. Some of the most serious risky driving results from youth development factors, such as poor impulse control. Driver training typically addresses inexperience, but it is increasingly recognised internationally that training that addresses driver immaturity may be more beneficial. This project aims to be the first to develop such training. We will design computer training tasks to accelerate the development of brain areas responsible for impulse control, and assess improvement of performance in these tasks and in driving. Results will improve understanding and management of youth risk-taking.
Safety Management System for Heavy Vehicle Transport Operations
The aim of this research is to develop a Safety Management System (SMS) collaboratively with regulators and industry (NSW RTA, NSW MAA, Zurich, NTC and TCA) for heavy vehicle transport operations to reduce Australia's alarmingly rising heavy vehicle road trauma. The SMS is a holistic approach that moves beyond the compartmentalised and static epidemiological Haddon model of identifying separately road, vehicle and human risk factors that has underpinned road safety since the 1970's. This research is ground breaking in that it will result in a paradigm shift in heavy vehicle safety as well as significantly advance road safety science in general. The project is a two-phase process of identifying characteristics that differentiate companies with good and poor safety performance, building a safety management system through this research, and then testing the system by implementing the system and measuring changes in safety performance.
Reducing road trauma through data linkage
Good quality data on road traffic injuries and the causal factors leading to motor vehicle crashes is essential for informing policy designed to reduce the burden of road trauma. It is well recognised that comprehensive information on road traffic casualties can rarely be obtained from a single data source. The RTA's crash database is derived from police crash records which provide a relatively rich source of information about the circumstances associated with road crashes, but are limited with respect to the nature and outcomes of injuries sustained.
Data linkage has the potential to overcome these limitations by providing a more detailed and complete picture of the causal factors and outcomes of road traffic crashes. For example, by linking the police and hospital data the circumstances of the crash can be related to level of treatment (hospitalised or not), the nature and severity of injury and the body region injured. Information about the severity of injury can be used to examine the flow-on effect of interventions designed to prevent fatalities and whether these result in more major trauma while information about the nature and site of injury can be used to inform engineering countermeasure development.
This research project seeks to address some of these issues by linking a number of data collections containing information on road traffic casualties in NSW.
Development of a practical safety audit tool to assess fleet safety management practices
In conjunction with the Australasian Fleet Managers Association (AfMA) and funded by a WorkCover NSW Assist Applied Research Grant, researchers at TARS are developing and trialling the useability of a fleet safety management audit tool for light vehicle fleets (ie. vehicles, such as cars and vans less than 4.5 tonnes). In NSW, around 16% of all vehicle fatalities each year and around 10% of injury hospitalisations following a vehicle crash are thought to be work-related. There are around 800,000 fleet vehicles in NSW and it has been estimated that 20-30% of them crash each year, with drivers of company vehicles experiencing 50% more crashes than private vehicle drivers. The development of the fleet safety management audit tool will allow organisations to assess their safety practices against standard criteria, identify areas for improvement and benchmark their performance against best practice and against other organisations. The audit tool will also provide researchers with a standard measure of safety management performance.
The Novice Driver Program (NDP) Trial Process Evaluation
The Novice Driver Program is a robust multi-component intervention that will use an adult education approach to change the on-road behaviour of young novice drivers in such a way as to reduce their crash risk. Before it is rolled out nationally, the NDP is to undergo a) a Quantitative Outcome Evaluation in Victoria (led by MUARC researchers); and b) a Process Evaluation in NSW. The Process Evaluation for which the UNSW researchers are responsible aims, in newly licensed drivers 18-22 years of age, to identify the practical issues that may need to be resolved in order to implement a nationwide program for your novice drivers. Specifically, to:
- Evaluate delivery processes;
- Identify issues relevant to nationwide implementation; and
- Assess willingness of young novice drivers to participate in this type of program.