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Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Nov;60:305-15. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2013.05.013. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

The impact of high-risk drivers and benefits of limiting their driving degree of freedom.

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CESUR - DECivil - Instituto Superior Tecnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal. Electronic address:


The perception of drivers regarding risk-taking behaviour is widely varied. High-risk drivers are the segment of drivers who are disproportionately represented in the majority of crashes. This study examines the typologies of drivers in risk-taking behaviour, the common high-risk driving errors (speeding, close following, abrupt lane-changing and impaired driving), their safety consequences and the technological (ITS) devices for their detection and correction. Limiting the driving degree of freedom of high-risk drivers is proposed and its benefits on safety as well as traffic operations are quantified using VISSIM microscopic traffic simulation at various proportions of high-risk drivers; namely, 4%, 8% and 12%. Assessment of the safety benefits was carried out by using the technique of simulated vehicle conflicts which was validated against historic crashes, and reduction in travel time was used to quantify the operational benefits. The findings imply that limiting the freedom of high-risk drivers resulted in a reduction of crashes by 12%, 21% and 27% in congested traffic conditions; 9%, 13% and 18% in lightly congested traffic conditions as well as 9%, 10% and 17% in non-congested traffic conditions for high-risk drivers in proportions of 4%, 8% and 12% respectively. Moreover, the surrogate safety measures indicated that there was a reduction in crash severity levels. The operational benefits amounted to savings of nearly 1% in travel time for all the proportions of high-risk drivers considered. The study concluded that limiting the freedom of high-risk drivers has safety and operational benefits; though there could be social, legal and institutional concerns for its practical implementation.


Driving error; High-risk drivers; Road safety; SSAM; Traffic simulation; VISSIM

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