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Journal of Transportation Safety and Security


This study compares the age and gender of at-fault drivers who were involved in fatal crashes and the corresponding driving errors that contributed to these crashes. This comparison provides insights that may help traffic engineers devise countermeasures to lessen the number of these unnecessary deaths. Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the years 2001 through 2003 were used in this study. The analysis included passenger vehicles (automobiles, utility vehicles, minivans, and pickup trucks) involved in either single or two vehicle crashes. The driver responsible in each crash was identified through the driver error variable codes as listed in the FARS databases. Younger drivers (16 through 19 years of age) and the elderly (those 75 and older) were responsible for a disproportionate amount of fatality-related crashes. When combined these two groups accounted for only 6.4% of the total miles driven in 2001 but they were responsible for 83.1% of the fatal crashes attributed to driver-related errors. Driver operating error was listed as the contributing factor in 73% of fatal motor vehicle crashes when the driver was male and 83% of the crashes when the driver was female. The youngest drivers tended to be carrying the highest number of passengers when they were involved in fatal crashes. Failing to stay in the proper lane and driving too fast for road conditions were the two most frequent driver operating errors contributing to fatal crashes for both male and female drivers.

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The article available for download is the authors' accepted manuscript; it appeared in the Journal of Transportation Safety in March 2010; view the version of record online or in an academic library. Permission documentation is on file.


Taylor & Francis and the Center for Transportation Research, University of Tennessee Knoxville



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