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Traffic Inj Prev. 2008 Oct;9(5):463-71. doi: 10.1080/15389580802335240.

Use of fatal real-life crashes to analyze a safe road transport system model, including the road user, the vehicle, and the road.

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  • 1Section of Personal Injury Prevention, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



To evaluate if the Swedish Road Administration (SRA) model for a safe road transport system, which includes the interaction between the road user, the vehicle, and the road, could be used to classify fatal car crashes according to some safety indicators. Also, to present a development of the model to better identify system weakness.


Real-life crashes with a fatal outcome were classified according to the vehicle's safety rating by Euro NCAP (European Road Assessment Programme) and fitment of ESC (Electronic Stability Control). For each crash, the road was also classified according to EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme) criteria, and human behavior in terms of speeding, seat belt use, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Each crash was compared with the model criteria, to identify components that might have contributed to fatal outcome. All fatal crashes where a car occupant was killed that occurred in Sweden during 2004 were included: in all, 215 crashes with 248 fatalities. The data were collected from the in-depth fatal crash data of the Swedish Road Administration (SRA).


It was possible to classify 93% of the fatal car crashes according to the SRA model. A number of shortcomings in the criteria were identified since the model did not address rear-end or animal collisions or collisions with stationary/parked vehicles or trailers (18 out of 248 cases). Using the further developed model, it was possible to identify that most of the crashes occurred when two or all three components interacted (in 85 of the total 230 cases). Noncompliance with safety criteria for the road user, the vehicle, and the road led to fatal outcome in 43, 27, and 75 cases, respectively.


The SRA model was found to be useful for classifying fatal crashes but needs to be further developed to identify how the components interact and thereby identify weaknesses in the road traffic system. This developed model might be a tool to systematically identify which of the components are linked to fatal outcome. In the presented study, fatal outcomes were mostly related to an interaction between the three components: the road, the vehicle, and the road user. Of the three components, the road was the one that was most often linked to a fatal outcome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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