Road Safety Regulation
Regulation is at the core of everyday life, setting standards and shaping behaviour. Regulations come in many forms, from laws through to codes of practice. The influence of regulations may not always be felt, but they influence everything we do.
In road safety, regulations play a critical role. Typically, we think of design standards of vehicles and laws relating to speed, seat belts and mobile phone use. But it is also the case that the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), industry codes of practice, fleet purchasing and driver behaviour guidelines are also regulations, but ‘soft’ in the sense that penalties in the strict legal sense do not apply. These alternate forms of regulation are still powerful and, some argue, more flexible.
Our research team is interested in all matters relating to regulation. This includes on how decisions can be made, formulated and supported through evidence-based science. For this, we create and use comprehensive in-depth crash data, hospital data, police data and compensation systems data to identify current and future safety concerns. We are concerned with identifying persistent, seemingly intractable problems and identifying new safety countermeasures to overcome them. The research team has capacity to perform crash reconstruction simulations and occupant injury modelling.
Our research aims to support regulatory reform and decision-making at state, national and global levels. Underpinning our research is the analysis of key road safety datasets crash reconstruction, modelling and the use of cost-effectiveness methods. This provides the foundation to evaluate existing road safety policies, fleet plans, vehicle safety features, and to examine the potential benefits of new safety technologies entering the market. For example, we are interested in the potential life saving benefits of new technologies like autonomous braking, alcohol interlocks, emergency crash notification systems and new types of protective clothing and ABS for motorcyclists, to name but a few. By examining these technologies and their likely benefits, we can assist governments and industry in making the right choices to guarantee our future safety.
Current Research Projects
ECIS - Enhanced Crash Investigation Study
The Enhanced Crash Investigation Study (ECIS) examines more than 400 serious injury crashes in microscopic detail to gain an in-depth understanding of what causes such crashes.
The $8 million research initiative, looks at more than 5,000 pieces of individual information relating to each of the 400 crashes to determine the leading factors in how they occur and subsequent injuries.
MICIMS - Managing Increasing Challenges In Motorcycle Safety
The research team is involved in two large scale motorcycle crash in-depth studies. The Managing Increasing Challenges In Motorcycle Safety (MICIMS) study in Victoria is being led by Associate Professor Lesley Day. See the latest Study Update for Rider Community - December 2014. Another study is being conducted in NSW and is led by Dr Julie Brown at NeuRA in collaboration with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research in South Australia.
Other current research projects include:
- Motorcycle protective clothing, crash protection, thermal strain and rider performance.
- The economic cost of distraction crashes.
- A study into motor scooter crash risk.
- The effects of ESC and side impact airbags in Victoria.
Past Research Projects
- The Australian National Crash In-depth Study (ANCIS), which has over 1000 serious injury crashes fully investigated.
- The influence of ISA in heavy vehicles and the benefits of ESC in light commercial vehicles.
- An examination of the likely benefits of a new global pole side impact protection standard.
Internationally, MUARC has research projects examining the incidence of road crashes and rollover crashes in particular, in Namibia and Road Safety Capacity Development in South Africa. Through our work in Africa, we are promoting the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The research group has a strong collaborative links with a number of research groups in Australia, as well as in the US, the UK and a number of countries in Africa.
Assistant Professor Diana Bowman, Risk Science Center, University of Michigan, USA
Dr Julie Brown, NeuRA, University of NSW, Sydney
Dr Matthew Baldock, Centre for Automotive Safety Research, The University of Adelaide
Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport
Transport Accident Commission
Transport for NSW
Motor Accidents Authority (NSW)
Australian Government Dept. of Justice
Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (Namibia)
Monash University - Enhanced Crash Investigation Study (ECIS)