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Centre for Automotive Safety Research
THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
SA 5005 AUSTRALIA
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Publication Details

TitleThe relative contribution of system failures and extreme behaviour in South Australian crashes: preliminary findings
AuthorsWundersitz LN, Baldock MRJ
Year2012
TypeConference Paper
AbstractWithin the road system, there are compliant road users who may make an error that leads to a crash, resulting in a ‘system failure’, and there are also road users who deliberately take risks and display dangerous or ‘extreme’ behaviours that lead to a crash. Crashes resulting from system failures can be addressed through improvements to road system design more readily than crashes resulting from extreme behaviours. Therefore, the classification of crash causation in terms of system failures or extreme behaviour is important for determining the extent to which improvements to the road system can be expected to reduce the number of crashes. This study examined the relative contribution of system failures and extreme behaviour in South Australian crashes as identified from information in Coroner’s investigation files and databases of in-depth crash investigations conducted by CASR. The analysis of 83 fatal crashes, 272 non-fatal metropolitan injury crashes and 181 non-fatal rural crashes indicated that very few non-fatal crashes (3% metropolitan, 9% rural) involved extreme behaviour by road users and, even in fatal crashes, the majority (57%) were the result of system failures. This means that improvements to the road transport system can be expected to be much more effective in reducing crashes than concentrating on preventing extreme behaviours. Such a strategy could reduce the incidence and severity of a large proportion of crashes in South Australia.
Conference NameAustralasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference
Conference AbbreviationRSR
Conference LocationWellington
Conference Date4-6 October 2012

Reference
Wundersitz LN, Baldock MRJ (2012) 'The relative contribution of system failures and extreme behaviour in South Australian crashes: preliminary findings', Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, Wellington, 4-6 October 2012.