Investigations of Side Impact Crashes with Control Data 2004-01-0346
Side impact crashes account for 25-40% of all crashes, and a high proportion of those involving personal injury. The only driver factor consistently implicated in crash occurrence in the literature is being older, so that vehicle and environmental factors are of primary importance for crash prevention. Crash investigations conducted in Toronto of passenger vehicles in two-vehicle side-impact crashes were included. Control data, obtained at the crash site close to the crash date on the same weekday and time of day, included license numbers of up to four passing vehicles for each vehicle involved in the crash. From the license number we obtained the make, model, year, curb weight, dimensions and safety equipment such as airbags, ABS and traction control. Descriptive and comparative analyses of the crashes were conducted to identify characteristics of crash-involved vehicles relative to control vehicles. Separate effects were estimated for struck (target) and striking (bullet) vehicles where appropriate. Results suggest that safety equipment such as ABS and traction control reduces the risk for striking vehicles; for struck vehicles, traction control may have an effect but there is little evidence for any effect of ABS. Comparisons with control vehicles allow one to examine factors affecting crash avoidance that are not possible by other means.