Type of Document Thesis Author Alam, Bhuiyan Monwar Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-01042005-141525 Title Evaluation of Age as a Contributing Factor for Fatal Crashes in the State of Florida Degree Master of Science Department Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Lisa Spainhour Committee Chair Virgil Ping Committee Member Yassir AbdelRazig Committee Member Keywords
- Intersection Crashes
- Older Drivers
- Highway Traffic Safety
- Risk Factors
- Younger Drivers
- Fatal Crash
- Case Based Analysis
- Non-Intersection Crashes
Date of Defense 2004-12-06 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe study investigates the age of at-fault drivers as a contributing factor for fatal crashes in Florida. The main objective of the research was to provide an in-depth analysis of the relationships between the ages of the at-fault drivers and different aspects of roadway, traffic, weather, and other related contributing factors, and recommend various countermeasures, both behavioral and roadway-related so that appropriate actions can be initiated to improve safety on Florida’s highways. It also investigates the relationships between age vs. race, and age vs. sex. The study focuses on the driving behaviors of the younger (=<24 years) and older (65-74 years, and >=75 years) drivers although the data of middle-age (25-64 years) drivers are also analyzed.
The younger and older drivers of both sexes are more likely to cause fatal crashes compared to the ‘average’ drivers. Among these, the female oldest (>=75 years) drivers are at highest level of vulnerability of causing fatal crashes followed by younger male drivers. The younger drivers of all races and only the white older drivers are more likely to cause such crashes. The older drivers of black, Hispanic, and ‘other’ races are less likely to cause fatal crashes compared to the ‘average’ drivers. In case of number of vehicles involved in crashes, the younger drivers are more likely to contribute to 1-vehicle, 2-vehicle, 3-vehicle, and >=4-vehicle crashes while the older drivers are also more likely to cause all of these types, except 1-vehicle crashes.
The study finds significant impacts of age of the at-fault drivers on contributing factors like crash hour, lighting conditions, road grades, road surface types, site locations, and vehicle speed while no significant impacts are found on road surface conditions, weather conditions, lane types (left, right, etc.), and shoulder types.
The study reveals that the older drivers are involved in more intersection crashes than non-intersection crashes while the situation is opposite for the younger drivers. Among others the reasons for intersection crashes by the older drivers include misjudgment of speeds of the oncoming vehicles (18.0%), failure to observe the vehicle/all sides before approaching the intersection (17.0%), disregarding traffic signals (13.4%), and improper left turn (12.4%) are four major contributing factors each of which contributes to >=10% of intersection crashes by the older drivers. In case of non-intersection crashes, the study reveals that sudden loss of control contributes to more than one-third (37.1%) while driving under the influence of alcohol contributes to almost one-fifth (18.6%) of such crashes.
It is evident that driving under the influence of alcohol (28.4%), exceeding safe speed limits (19.7%), and loss of control (19.7%) by the younger drivers are three major causes of fatal crashes in Florida, specially the 1-vehicle, high-speed, pedestrian/bicycle related, and loss of control type crashes. Among others disregarding traffic signals (6.6%) and failure to stop to avoid rear-end collision (6.3%) contribute to >=5% while failure to observe vehicles/all sides (3.3%), disregarding stop signs (3.0%), improper left turn (2.3%), and improper lane change (2.0%) contribute to >=2% of crashes on highways by the younger drivers whether at intersection or non-intersection. In case of intersection crashes, driving under the influence of alcohol (23.9%), disregarding traffic signals (18.8%), and exceeding safe speed limits (12.3%) come out as three major contributing causes. Other important contributing factors are disregarding stop signs, failure to observe vehicles/all sides, failure to stop to avoid rear-end collision, improper left turn, and loss of control that contribute to >=5% of intersection crashes. On the other hand, driving under the influence of alcohol (30.7%), loss of control of the vehicle (27.6%), exceeding safe speed limits (23.7%), and failure to stop the vehicle to avoid rear-end collision (5.8%) come out as four major contributing factors that cause >=5% of the non-intersection crashes by these drivers.
In brief, the study reveals that driving under the influence of alcohol is the sole important contributing factor for all types of crashes by both younger and older drivers, except the intersection crashes by the older drivers for which misjudgment of speed and failure to observe are the major contributing factors. Other important factors are exceeding safe speed limits, disregarding traffic signals, and sudden loss of control of the vehicles. Another important finding of the study is that the investigation officers have tendency to frequently use the terms ‘careless driving’ for the younger-non-intersection crashes and ‘failure to yield right of way’ for older-intersection crashes.
Finally, the study finds that about half of the at-fault drivers do not wear safety equipments that cause severe fatality.
The study recommends that more efficient and frequent public transit services should be provided to the older drivers, and their driving licenses should be renewed every year to lessen the number of older drivers on the streets. On the other hand, training and educational programs should be initiated for the younger drivers. Stricter laws should be introduced for driving under the influence of alcohol/drug, driving at unsafe speeds, not wearing seat belts, and other offences so the younger drivers act with more responsibility on the streets. The numbers of traffic and billboard signs should also be kept at the minimum so the older drivers are not confused with unnecessary signs.
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