Crashworthiness and aggressivity of the Australian light vehicle fleet by major crash type

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #227 [2004]

Authors: Newstead, S.V., Watson, L.M., Delaney, A.K. & Cameron, M.H.

Full report in .pdf format [800KB]


This report examines relative vehicle crashworthiness and aggressivity of the Australian light passenger vehicle fleet in the four major crash types in which they are involved. These are single vehicle crashes, crashes with unprotected road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists, crashes with heavy vehicles and crashes with other light passenger vehicles.  Analysis focuses on 1982-2000 model vehicles classified into 8 broad market groups. Crashworthiness ratings measure the relative safety of vehicles in preventing severe injury to their own drivers in crashes whilst aggressivity ratings measure the serious injury risk vehicles pose to drivers of other vehicles or road users with which they collide.  Crashworthiness ratings were estimated for drivers of light passenger vehicles in single vehicle collisions, collisions with heavy vehicles and in collisions with other passenger vehicles. Aggressivity ratings by light passenger vehicle market group were also estimated for collisions with unprotected road users.

The ratings used were based on data on crashes in Victoria and New South Wales during 1987-2000 and in Queensland and Western Australia during 1991-2000. Crashworthiness was measured as a combination of injury severity (of injured drivers) and injury risk (of drivers involved in crashes) whilst aggressivity reflected relative injury severity outcomes of unprotected road users in collisions with light passenger vehicles. The ratings were adjusted for the driver or unprotected road user sex and age, the speed limit at the crash location, the state in which the crash occurred and the year in which the crash occurred. These factors were strongly related to injury risk and/or severity for aggressivity and crashworthiness. Both the aggressivity and crashworthiness ratings estimate the risk of the passenger car driver (crashworthiness) or unprotected road user (aggressivity) being killed or admitted to hospital when involved in a towaway crash, to a degree of accuracy represented by the confidence limits of the rating in each case.

Results of the research have been able to identify the vehicle market groups that have relatively good and bad secondary safety performance in each crash type considered. Results have shown clear differential relative performance between market groups across the major crash types considered. They have also been able to quantify the relative risk of serious injury or death between crash types, further highlighting the high serious injury risk to unprotected road users in particular, as well as to light vehicle drivers in both single vehicle crashes and in crashes with articulated heavy vehicles.

The results of this report are based on a number of assumptions and warrant a number of qualifications that should be noted.

Sponsoring Organisations - This project was funded as contract research by the following organisations:
Road Traffic Authority of NSW; Royal Automobile Club of Victoria Ltd.; NRMA Ltd. VicRoads Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia Ltd.; and by a grant from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau