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Crash Rates & Risks: The Role of Vehicle Design (& Type), Driver Habits, & Demographics 

  • Author(s): Kockelman, Kara, PhD
  • et al.

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Traffic fatalities are responsible for 1.3 million deaths annually, worldwide, & 16 percent of all Americans dying between the ages of 1 & 44 (WHO 2010, Xu et al. 2010). Crash rates & consequences can be examined from multiple perspectives, reflecting characteristics of the drivers & passengers, their vehicles, home locations, & crash settings. This presentation focuses on crash risks & injury severities as a function of driver & vehicle characteristics & other factors. For example, heteroscedastic ordered probit models distinguish the effects of vehicle weight, footprint & height on the severity of injuries sustained by vehicle occupants in the U.S. General Estimates Systems data sets (while controlling for many additional attributes). A survey of over 1,000 Americans was employed to analyze the impact of driving habits & distances, citation histories, vehicle ownership, & demographics on crash histories & risk. Lastly, data on the 240 respondents who currently ride or have ridden a motorcycle allow one to analyze the relationship between rider training & riding frequency on regular helmet use, & set the stage for a holistic cost-benefit analysis of motorcycling, to examine tradeoffs in safety, emissions, fuel use, & vehicle costs. 

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