Researchers create system to enable more accurate analysis of severe automobile accidents

April 2, 2013
Spanish national road.

University of Granada researchers have developed a new statistical technique that enables an exhaustive analysis of all possible causes that increase the severity of a traffic accident. The research, based on two data-mining studies (Latent Class Clustering and Bayesian Networks), means that traffic accidents can be measured much more precisely and, furthermore, demonstrate certain relations among the variables that were not previously identifiable using traditional methods:

The main author of this study, which was published in the latest volume of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, is university lecturer Juan de Oña Lopez, head of the research group, "Transport and Safety" (TRYSE), run by the University of Granada Department of Civil Engineering. He highlights that " can happen anywhere, anytime, meaning that examining them requires knowledge of how they occurred. One of the main problems researchers find when examining data from traffic accidents is that the information tends to be heterogeneous, which means that, if, during the investigation, a certain correlation among the variables is not detected, there will be data that does not come to light".

3,229 accidents were analysed

In the research, 3,229 traffic accidents were analysed, which happened on two-way roads in the province of Granada from 2004 to 2008 and in which up to three vehicles were involved. To describe each accident, the researchers used 18 variables regarding the characteristics of the road, the accident, the surrounding area and the driver actually involved.The results show that Latent Class Clustering enables accidents to be divided into four (4) clusters or groups, separated by type of accident, number of vehicles involved, number of persons per vehicle, width of the hard shoulder and whether it was tarmacked or not. The main difference in identifying each cluster is the type of accident: two clusters refer to collisions, while the other two concern crashing off the road and whether there was a tarmacked hard shoulder or not.

Using the original database (ODB), along with each of the clusters defined, the University of Granada researchers identified the variables affecting the severity of an accident. The results show that, in all cases (OBD plus 4 clusters), there is a direct relationship between the severity of the accident and the following variables: month, time, number of injured, type of accident, cause, age, gender, road width, type of hard shoulder, road marking and visibility. But, furthermore, there are specific links among the clusters that do not show up when analysing the OBD alone, such as the direct link between severity and weather conditions, a tarmacked hard shoulder and the number of vehicles involved in the accident.

Explore further: Speed cameras do reduce accidents, say researchers

More information: de Ona, J. et al. Analysis of Traffic Accidents on Rural Highways using Latent Class Clustering and Bayesian Networks, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 51, March 2013, Pages 1–10.

Related Stories

Speed cameras do reduce accidents, say researchers

September 12, 2008

( -- Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed an accident prediction model which proves that speed cameras are effective in reducing the number of road traffic accidents by 20 per cent.

Driver cellphone blocking technology could save lives

July 5, 2012

Researchers in India are developing a new technology that will prevent truck drivers and other road users from using their cell phones while driving. The technology based on RFIDs could also be integrated with police traffic ...

Codeine use and accident risk

March 24, 2009

The risk of being involved in a traffic accident with personal injury is significantly higher among codeine users than non-users. However, sporadic or moderate use of codeine alone does not carry an increased risk, according ...

Ten minutes could prevent one-third of road deaths

September 1, 2010

Spanish researchers have calculated the probability of dying in road accidents on the basis of the time taken for the emergency services to arrive. Their conclusions are clear - reducing the time between an accident taking ...

Recommended for you

Google, EU dig in for long war

July 20, 2017

Google and the EU are gearing up for a battle that could last years, with the Silicon Valley behemoth facing a relentless challenge to its ambition to expand beyond search results.

Strengthening 3-D printed parts for real-world use

July 20, 2017

From aerospace and defense to digital dentistry and medical devices, 3-D printed parts are used in a variety of industries. Currently, 3-D printed parts are very fragile and only used in the prototyping phase of materials ...

Swimming robot probes Fukushima reactor to find melted fuel

July 19, 2017

An underwater robot entered a badly damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant Wednesday, capturing images of the harsh impact of its meltdown, including key structures that were torn and knocked out of place.

Microsoft cloud to help Baidu self-driving car effort

July 19, 2017

Microsoft's cloud computing platform will be used outside China for collaboration by members of a self-driving car alliance formed by Chinese internet search giant Baidu, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Making lab equipment on the cheap

July 18, 2017

Laboratory equipment is one of the largest cost factors in neuroscience. However, many experiments can be performed with good results using self-assembled setups involving 3-D printed components and self-programmed electronics. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.