New crash investigation study releases findings

According to a new report, high speed limits coupled with poor quality roads can be a recipe for disaster.

The Enhanced Crash Investigation Study (ECIS), conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and funded by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), has revealed the major causes of serious injuries on Victorian roads.

Impact speed was shown to play a significant factor in injury severity, with serious injuries more common in crashes that occurred on lower quality roads with higher posted speed limits.

Crashes were drawn from across the state and occurred between August 2014 and December 2016.

Each crash was examined in forensic detail, with research nurses interviewing the drivers or their families following admission to The Alfred or Royal Melbourne Hospital. Crash investigation teams also inspected the scene of each crash and the vehicles involved.

“This is the start of a different and life-changing journey for many, with extended time off work being common and being unable to do the things we take for granted no longer being possible,” said MUARC chief investigator Associate Professor Michael Fitzharris.

“Our research team saw first-hand the effects of high-speed crashes. The research also shows the limits and inability of vehicles to protect drivers from serious injury in high speed crashes. The need to create safe roads by matching speed limits to the road infrastructure is critical,” Fitzharris added.

Exceeding the speed limit was the most common non-compliant behaviour from drivers in ECIS crashes (26.2%), followed by the presence of alcohol or drugs (19.1%) and the disregarding of instructions including stop signs and traffic lights (13.7%).

To access the ECIS report, please click here.

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