Residual Crashes and Injured Occupants with Lane Departure Prevention Systems

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Virginia Tech


Every year, approximately 34,000 individuals are fatally injured in crashes on US roads [1]. These fatalities occur across many types of crash scenarios, each with its own causation factors. One way to prioritize research on a preventive technology is to compare the number of occupant fatalities relative to the total number of occupants involved in a crash scenario. Four crash modes are overrepresented among fatalities: single vehicle road departure crashes, control loss crashes, cross-centerline head-on crashes, and pedestrian/cyclist crashes [2]. Interestingly, three of these crash scenarios require the subject vehicle to depart from the initial lane of travel. Lane departure warning (LDW) systems track the vehicle lane position and can alert the driver through audible and haptic feedback before the vehicle crosses the lane line. Lane departure prevention (LDP) systems can perform an automatic steering maneuver to prevent the departure.

Another method of prioritizing research is to determine factors common among the fatal crashes. In 2017, 30.4% of passenger vehicle crash fatalities involved a vehicle rollover [1]. Half of all fatal single vehicle road departure crashes resulted in a rollover yet only 12% of fatal multi-vehicle crashes involved a rollover [1]. These often occur after the driver has lost control of the vehicle and departed the road. Electronic stability control (ESC) can provide different braking to each wheel and allow the vehicle to maintain heading. While ESC is a promising technology, some rollover crashes still occur. Passive safety systems such as seat belts, side curtain airbags, and stronger roofs work to protect occupants during rollover crashes. Seat belts prevent occupants from moving inside the occupant compartment during the rollover and both seat belts and side curtain airbags can prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle. Stronger roofs ensure that the roof is not displaced during the rollover and the integrity of the occupant compartment is maintained to prevent occupant ejection.

The focus of this dissertation is to evaluate the effectiveness of vehicle-based countermeasures, such as lane departure warning and electronic stability control, for preventing or mitigating single vehicle road departure crashes, cross-centerline head-on crashes, and single vehicle rollover crashes. This was accomplished by understanding how drivers respond to both road departure and cross-centerline events in real-world crashes. These driver models were used to simulate real crash scenarios with LDW/LDP systems to quantify their potential crash reduction. The residual crashes, which are not avoided with LDW/LDP systems or ESC, were analyzed to estimate the occupant injury outcome. For rollover crashes, a novel injury model was constructed that includes modern passive safety countermeasures such as seat belts, side curtain airbags, and stronger roofs. The results for road departure, head-on, and control loss rollover crashes were used to predict the number of crashes and injured occupants in the future. This work is important for identifying the residual crashes that require further research to reduce the number of injured crash occupants.



Lane Departure Warning, Event Data Recorder, Electronic Stability Control, Active Safety System, Perception Response Time, Advanced Driver Assist System