How Well Can Drivers See Pedestrians to Avoid Collisions? the Relationship Between Vehicle Visibility and Pedestrian Injury Risk and The Safety Benefits of Reversing Technologies for The Australasian Fleet

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch


Crashes and incidents involving pedestrians are a significant part of the road toll in Australia and New Zealand. Visibility of pedestrians from vehicles is one possible risk factor that can lead to pedestrian road trauma. As a subset, back-over injuries to pedestrians are a significant road safety issue, but their prevalence is underestimated as the majority of such injuries are often outside the scope of official road injury recording systems, which just focus on public roads. Based on experimental evidence, reversing cameras have been found to be potentially effective in reducing the rate of collisions when reversing whilst the evidence for the effectiveness of reverse parking sensors has been mixed. This study aimed to assess the relationship between pedestrian crash risk and both forward and rearwards visibility as assessed by the indices of forward and rearward visibility derived and published by the Insurance Australia Group (IAG) Research Centre. In addition, the research aimed to assess the benefits of reversing sensors and cameras on vehicles in mitigating the risk of pedestrian back-over crashes. The wide availability of vehicle reversing technologies in recent model vehicles provided impetus for real-world evaluation using police reported crash data. Analysis was based on police reported crash and registration data from Australia and New Zealand over the years 2007-2013. Analysis found an association between the IAG forward visibility index and pedestrian injury crash risk with vehicles rated 1 or 2 stars having a higher crash risk than those rated 3 stars. Some indication of an association between the IAG reversing visibility index and real world pedestrian back-over risk was identified, with vehicles rated less than 5 stars having a higher risk than those rated 5 stars. These results indicate the potential benefits of technologies that assist driver visibility and awareness of objects outside the vehicle. Compared to vehicles without reversing cameras or sensors, reduced odds of back-over injury were estimated for all three of these technology configurations: 0.59 (95% CI 0.39 to 0.88) for reversing cameras alone; 0.70 (95% CI 0.49 to 1.01) for both reversing cameras and sensors; 0.69 (95% CI 0.47 to 1.03) for reverse parking sensors alone. Analysis also showed that reversing cameras were also associated with a 30% reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes (95% CI 0.50-0.99). There was also good evidence that the safety benefit for these more serious crashes was greater for cars equipped with the cameras than for SUVs or light commercial vehicles. For cars, the fitment of cameras was associated with only half the rate of back-over crashes of other cars without cameras or with unknown fitment status (risk ratio 0.49 with 95% CI 0.3-0.8).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781925413038
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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