Analysis of Run-off-road Safety-critical Events in Virginia

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


Run-off-road (ROR) crashes account for a large proportion of fatalities on U.S. roadways. ROR crashes usually involve a single vehicle and occur when the vehicle departs the roadway and then strikes an object. The research presented here analyzed data from three sources: police-reported data from ROR crashes involving teens in Virginia, and data from two naturalistic driving studies conducted with teens in Virginia (the Supervised Practice Driving Study and the Driver Coach Study). The data from the police reports were provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The two datasets were heterogeneous in terms of the method of data collection and types of ROR events that comprised the majority of cases (e.g., crashes vs. near-crashes). However, results showed several commonalities in ROR events involving teens and the characteristics of these events. For example, most ROR events occurred on dry roads for both datasets. In addition, ROR events were most common on straight roads with level alignment for both datasets. Finally, both datasets showed the highest proportion of ROR events in daylight, followed by darkness without lighting. Speeding was a common driver behavior noted in both datasets but was more common for the naturalistic dataset. Driver secondary tasks were difficult to compare across datasets because police reports often report no secondary task engagement or that it was not applicable to the case, whereas naturalistic driving data allows direct observation of secondary task engagement. Thus, in the DMV data, when secondary task engagement was observed, the most common task was using a cell phone, whereas the naturalistic data showed that talking with a passenger was most common.



naturalistic driving studies (NDS), transportation safety, teen driving