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Processes and countermeasures in overtaking road accidents

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Of police road accident files describing overtaking accidents, 973 were sampled from the headquarters of Nottinghamshire Constabulary, UK for 1989 - 1993. Of particularly detailed cases, 410 were examined in depth and salient facts extracted including the exact manoeuvre involved, the errors made by drivers, the reasons for error, and the principal behavioural countermeasures that would have prevented the accident. Particular hazards were: (1) oncoming vehicles that only came into view during the overtake, from turnings, bends and hill crests, and (2) collisions involving the same direction cohort. The most effective single countermeasure was to avoid overtaking a vehicle travelling at or near the speed limit. The study illustrates the 'structured judgement method' of accident causation research in which human interpreters are used to assign causes and processes to individual cases, but orthodox research techniques are used to standardize procedures, and to assess and ensure reliability.
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Keywords: ACCIDENT CAUSATION; METHODOLOGY; OVERTAKING; POLICE RECORDS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1999

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