Human Error and Road Transport: Phase One – A framework for an error tolerant road transport system

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #256 [2005]

Authors: Salmon, P. M., Regan, M. A. & Johnston, I.

Full report in .pdf format [1MB]


Within complex, sociotechnical systems, human error has consistently been implicated as the major causal factor in a high proportion of accidents and incidents. For example, recent research within the road transport domain indicates that driver error contributes to as much as 75% of all roadway crashes. The present study represents the first phase of a research program of which the aim is to promote error tolerant intersections in Victoria and an error tolerant road transport system in Australia. The study involved a literature review of the human error-related research conducted to date in domains other than the road transport domain, a literature review of the human error-related research conducted to date within the road transport domain, and a review of contemporary error management approaches. The findings from this research indicate, amongst other things, that, compared to other domains in which human error has been identified as a major problem, there has been only a limited amount of human error related research conducted to date within road transport; and that the development and application of error management programs has so far been virtually non-existent. Consequently, it was concluded that our knowledge and understanding of road user error and of its contributory factors is currently lacking. Further, it was concluded that the application of error management techniques within the Australian road transport system is a viable concept to pursue, which could potentially lead to significant enhancements in road user safety.

Sponsoring organisation - Baseline Research Program for which grants have been received from: Department of Justice, Roads Corporation (VicRoads) and the Transport Accident Commission