The MUARC-TAC Enhanced Crash Investigation Study: using event data recorders and simulated crash reconstructions in the analysis of crash causation

Anne Peiris, Tandy Pok Arundell, Hampton C. Gabler, Rai Curry, Michael Fitzharris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


Background: Serious Injury (SI) crashes are associated with immense social, economic and personal impacts. Accordingly, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) commissioned MUARC to determine the underlying causes of 400 SI crashes. This paper describes how crash reconstruction techniques are used in the Enhanced Crash Investigation Study (ECIS) to inform a safe systems failure analysis for each case.

Method: Participants were drivers 18 years and older, recruited whilst inpatients at a major trauma hospital. The ECIS team inspects their crashed vehicle and critically analyses the crash environment. Event Data Recorder (EDR; i.e., black-box) data is acquired from vehicles where possible. Information collected is used to reconstruct and simulate crashes using Human Vehicle and Environment (HVE) software.

Results: Using two case studies, this paper describes the analytical approach whereby vehicle, scene and EDR data are integrated on a case-by-case basis to determine crash causation and assist in crash reconstruction. Inputs such as speed, reaction times or road friction are varied within the simulation to determine which factor(s) may have influenced crash severity.

Discussion: The paper highlights the value of using sophisticated crash reconstruction techniques to alter pre-crash characteristics to better understand the benefits of specific countermeasures. Discussion is focussed on how technical difficulties associated with crash reconstruction can be overcome.

Implications: This paper presents a comprehensive and robust method for understanding serious injury crashes with a view of identifying relevant and effective countermeasure options.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference
Place of PublicationACT Australia
PublisherAustralasian College of Road Safety
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAustralasian Road Safety Conference 2015: Taking Action Together - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 14 Oct 201516 Oct 2015


ConferenceAustralasian Road Safety Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleACRS 2015
CityGold Coast
Internet address


  • crash
  • crash reconstruction
  • event data recorder

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