Crash Trifecta: A Complex Driving Scenario Describing Crash Causation
Authors: Naomi J. Dunn, Jeffery S. Hickman, Richard J. Hanowski
Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate the crash trifecta concept to determine if the convergence of multiple elements--rather than a single, unitary critical reason--has greater value in explaining the complexities of crash genesis. Seven existing naturalistic driving (ND) data sets, four of which were from truck-based ND studies and three from light-vehicle ND studies, were combined to ensure a sufficient number of safety-critical events (SCE) for analyses. Two of the three crash trifecta elements (i.e., “unsafe pre-incident behavior” and “transient driver inattention”) were previously reduced and coded; thus, new data reduction was only required for the “unexpected traffic event” variable. After reduction was completed, SCEs were classified in terms of the joint presence or absence of the three trifecta elements. Results indicated the majority of SCEs can be attributed to the combination of at least two of the crash trifecta components. However, higher severity SCEs (i.e., crashes) were more likely to include all three crash trifecta elements. This illustrates that convergence concepts, such as the crash trifecta concept, may lead to a better understanding of the differences in the formation and origin of a crash compared to the traditional approach of assigning a unitary reason, such as the critical reason.
Keywords: Crash Causation, Crash Trifecta, Naturalistic Driving
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