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Characteristics of fatal single-vehicle crashes in Europe
There is a general lack of representative European accident data to aid the development of safety policy, regulation and technological advancement. This is proving to be a major obstacle in the European Union (EU) since data are needed to both assess the performance of road and vehicle safety policies and to support the development of further actions by stakeholders. An analysis conducted by the European Transport Safety Council identified that there was no single reporting system in place that could meet all of the data needs and that there were gaps with regard to in-depth accident data. This study describes the process of developing a data collection and analysis system designed to partly fill these gaps. A project team with members from seven EU countries was set up to devise appropriate variable lists to collect fatal crash data under the following topic levels: accident, road environment, vehicle and road user, using retrospective detailed police reports (n = 1293). The typical level of detail recorded was a minimum of 150 variables for each accident. The study describes some analyses of the data in terms of accident contributory factors, ‘events’ during the accident sequence and occupant details. This approach to data collection and database development has major applications in the areas of active safety systems, infrastructure and road safety developments, as well as for tailoring behavioural and policy interventions at European level.