Development and implementation of the UK on the spot accident data collection study - phase I
online resourceposted on 13.03.2006, 17:55 by Julian Hill, Richard Cuerden
The ‘On The Spot (OTS) Accident Data Collection Study’ has been developed to overcome a number of limitations encountered in earlier and current research. Most accident studies (such as the UK Co-operative Crash Injury Study, CCIS) are entirely retrospective, in that investigations take place a matter of days after the accident and are therefore limited in scope to factors which are relatively permanent, such as vehicle deformation and occupant injuries. They do not, in general, record information relating to evidence existing at the crash site, such as post-impact locations of vehicles, weather and road surface conditions; nor do they consider events leading up to the accident, such as the driving conditions encountered as the protagonists approached the crash site and their behaviour. It is these factors which give an insight into why the accident happened. The police, who do attend the scenes of accidents while such ‘volatile’ data is still available to be collected, tend to have other priorities, such as ensuring the injured receive help, clearing the scene to restore the flow of traffic and looking for indications that any of the parties involved has broken the law. The philosophy of the OTS project was to put experienced accident researchers at the crash scene at the same time as the police and other emergency services. The study is thus still retrospective, in that the accident has already happened, but the timing is such that it should be possible to gather information on the environmental and behavioural conditions prevailing just before the crash. This provides valuable in-depth data on the causes as well as the consequences of crashes, and allows counter-measures to be developed in the fields of human behaviour and highway engineering as well as vehicle crashworthiness. This is potentially a major improvement on the data currently available from other studies. A study of this type had not been conducted in the UK for over 20 years, and comparison of the results of the current study with those of the previous one should provide interesting insights into the changes which have taken place over that period.