Using medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user crash circumstances and risk factors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study used medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user (ORU, aged 65 years and older) crash circumstances and risk factors relating to 4 key components of the Safe System approach (e.g., roads and roadsides, vehicles, road users, and speeds) to identify areas of priority for targeted prevention activity. Method: The Coroners' Court of Victoria's (CCOV) Surveillance Database was searched to identify and describe the frequency and rate per 100,000 population of fatal ORU crashes in the Australian state of Victoria for 2013–2014. Information relating to the deceased ORU, crash characteristics and circumstances, and risk factors was extracted and analyzed. Results: One hundred and thirty-eight unintentional fatal ORU crashes were identified in the CCOV Surveillance Database. Of these fatal ORU crashes, most involved older drivers (44%), followed by older pedestrians (32%), older passengers (17%), older pedal cyclists (4%), older motorcyclists (1%), and older mobility scooter users (1%). The average annual rate of fatal ORU crashes per 100,000 population was 8.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.0–10.2). In terms of the crash characteristics and circumstances, most fatal ORU crashes involved a counterpart (98%), of which the majority were passenger cars (50%) or fixed/stationary objects (25%), including trees (46%) or embankments (23%). In addition, most fatal ORU crashes occurred close to home (73%), on-road (87%), on roads that were paved (94%), on roads with light traffic volume (37%), and during low-risk conditions: between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (44%), on weekdays (80%), during daylight (75%), and under dry/clear conditions (81%). Road user (RU) error was identified by the police and/or the coroner for the majority of fatal crashes (55%), with a significant proportion of deceased ORUs deemed to have failed to yield (54%) or misjudged (41%). Conclusions: RU error was the most significant factor identified in fatal ORU crashes, which suggests that there is a limited capacity of the road system to fully accommodate RU errors. Initiatives related to safer roads and roadsides, vehicles, speed zones, as well as behavioral approaches are key areas of priority for targeted activity to prevent fatal ORU crashes in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • fatal older road user crashes
  • medico-legal data
  • Older road users
  • road safety
  • Safe System approach

Cite this

@article{b62f4613cbc24edcb929f775ede7c6c9,
title = "Using medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user crash circumstances and risk factors",
abstract = "Objective: This study used medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user (ORU, aged 65 years and older) crash circumstances and risk factors relating to 4 key components of the Safe System approach (e.g., roads and roadsides, vehicles, road users, and speeds) to identify areas of priority for targeted prevention activity. Method: The Coroners' Court of Victoria's (CCOV) Surveillance Database was searched to identify and describe the frequency and rate per 100,000 population of fatal ORU crashes in the Australian state of Victoria for 2013–2014. Information relating to the deceased ORU, crash characteristics and circumstances, and risk factors was extracted and analyzed. Results: One hundred and thirty-eight unintentional fatal ORU crashes were identified in the CCOV Surveillance Database. Of these fatal ORU crashes, most involved older drivers (44{\%}), followed by older pedestrians (32{\%}), older passengers (17{\%}), older pedal cyclists (4{\%}), older motorcyclists (1{\%}), and older mobility scooter users (1{\%}). The average annual rate of fatal ORU crashes per 100,000 population was 8.1 (95{\%} confidence interval [CI], 6.0–10.2). In terms of the crash characteristics and circumstances, most fatal ORU crashes involved a counterpart (98{\%}), of which the majority were passenger cars (50{\%}) or fixed/stationary objects (25{\%}), including trees (46{\%}) or embankments (23{\%}). In addition, most fatal ORU crashes occurred close to home (73{\%}), on-road (87{\%}), on roads that were paved (94{\%}), on roads with light traffic volume (37{\%}), and during low-risk conditions: between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (44{\%}), on weekdays (80{\%}), during daylight (75{\%}), and under dry/clear conditions (81{\%}). Road user (RU) error was identified by the police and/or the coroner for the majority of fatal crashes (55{\%}), with a significant proportion of deceased ORUs deemed to have failed to yield (54{\%}) or misjudged (41{\%}). Conclusions: RU error was the most significant factor identified in fatal ORU crashes, which suggests that there is a limited capacity of the road system to fully accommodate RU errors. Initiatives related to safer roads and roadsides, vehicles, speed zones, as well as behavioral approaches are key areas of priority for targeted activity to prevent fatal ORU crashes in the future.",
keywords = "fatal older road user crashes, medico-legal data, Older road users, road safety, Safe System approach",
author = "Sjaan Koppel and Lyndal Bugeja and Daisy Smith and Ashne Lamb and Jeremy Dwyer and Michael Fitzharris and Stuart Newstead and Angelo D'Elia and Judith Charlton",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1080/15389588.2017.1360492",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
pages = "133--140",
journal = "Traffic Injury Prevention",
issn = "1538-9588",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "2",

}

Using medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user crash circumstances and risk factors. / Koppel, Sjaan; Bugeja, Lyndal; Smith, Daisy ; Lamb, Ashne; Dwyer, Jeremy ; Fitzharris, Michael; Newstead, Stuart ; D'Elia, Angelo; Charlton, Judith.

In: Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2018, p. 133-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Using medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user crash circumstances and risk factors

AU - Koppel, Sjaan

AU - Bugeja, Lyndal

AU - Smith, Daisy

AU - Lamb, Ashne

AU - Dwyer, Jeremy

AU - Fitzharris, Michael

AU - Newstead, Stuart

AU - D'Elia, Angelo

AU - Charlton, Judith

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Objective: This study used medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user (ORU, aged 65 years and older) crash circumstances and risk factors relating to 4 key components of the Safe System approach (e.g., roads and roadsides, vehicles, road users, and speeds) to identify areas of priority for targeted prevention activity. Method: The Coroners' Court of Victoria's (CCOV) Surveillance Database was searched to identify and describe the frequency and rate per 100,000 population of fatal ORU crashes in the Australian state of Victoria for 2013–2014. Information relating to the deceased ORU, crash characteristics and circumstances, and risk factors was extracted and analyzed. Results: One hundred and thirty-eight unintentional fatal ORU crashes were identified in the CCOV Surveillance Database. Of these fatal ORU crashes, most involved older drivers (44%), followed by older pedestrians (32%), older passengers (17%), older pedal cyclists (4%), older motorcyclists (1%), and older mobility scooter users (1%). The average annual rate of fatal ORU crashes per 100,000 population was 8.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.0–10.2). In terms of the crash characteristics and circumstances, most fatal ORU crashes involved a counterpart (98%), of which the majority were passenger cars (50%) or fixed/stationary objects (25%), including trees (46%) or embankments (23%). In addition, most fatal ORU crashes occurred close to home (73%), on-road (87%), on roads that were paved (94%), on roads with light traffic volume (37%), and during low-risk conditions: between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (44%), on weekdays (80%), during daylight (75%), and under dry/clear conditions (81%). Road user (RU) error was identified by the police and/or the coroner for the majority of fatal crashes (55%), with a significant proportion of deceased ORUs deemed to have failed to yield (54%) or misjudged (41%). Conclusions: RU error was the most significant factor identified in fatal ORU crashes, which suggests that there is a limited capacity of the road system to fully accommodate RU errors. Initiatives related to safer roads and roadsides, vehicles, speed zones, as well as behavioral approaches are key areas of priority for targeted activity to prevent fatal ORU crashes in the future.

AB - Objective: This study used medico-legal data to investigate fatal older road user (ORU, aged 65 years and older) crash circumstances and risk factors relating to 4 key components of the Safe System approach (e.g., roads and roadsides, vehicles, road users, and speeds) to identify areas of priority for targeted prevention activity. Method: The Coroners' Court of Victoria's (CCOV) Surveillance Database was searched to identify and describe the frequency and rate per 100,000 population of fatal ORU crashes in the Australian state of Victoria for 2013–2014. Information relating to the deceased ORU, crash characteristics and circumstances, and risk factors was extracted and analyzed. Results: One hundred and thirty-eight unintentional fatal ORU crashes were identified in the CCOV Surveillance Database. Of these fatal ORU crashes, most involved older drivers (44%), followed by older pedestrians (32%), older passengers (17%), older pedal cyclists (4%), older motorcyclists (1%), and older mobility scooter users (1%). The average annual rate of fatal ORU crashes per 100,000 population was 8.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.0–10.2). In terms of the crash characteristics and circumstances, most fatal ORU crashes involved a counterpart (98%), of which the majority were passenger cars (50%) or fixed/stationary objects (25%), including trees (46%) or embankments (23%). In addition, most fatal ORU crashes occurred close to home (73%), on-road (87%), on roads that were paved (94%), on roads with light traffic volume (37%), and during low-risk conditions: between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (44%), on weekdays (80%), during daylight (75%), and under dry/clear conditions (81%). Road user (RU) error was identified by the police and/or the coroner for the majority of fatal crashes (55%), with a significant proportion of deceased ORUs deemed to have failed to yield (54%) or misjudged (41%). Conclusions: RU error was the most significant factor identified in fatal ORU crashes, which suggests that there is a limited capacity of the road system to fully accommodate RU errors. Initiatives related to safer roads and roadsides, vehicles, speed zones, as well as behavioral approaches are key areas of priority for targeted activity to prevent fatal ORU crashes in the future.

KW - fatal older road user crashes

KW - medico-legal data

KW - Older road users

KW - road safety

KW - Safe System approach

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SP - 133

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JO - Traffic Injury Prevention

JF - Traffic Injury Prevention

SN - 1538-9588

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