TALBOT, R. and KIRK, A., 2012. Are crash characteristics and causation mechanisms similar in crashes involving fatigue to those involving alcohol? Presented at the 5th Expert Symposium on Accident Research (ESAR), 7th-8th September, Hannover Medical School, Germany.
The effect of fatigue on driving has been compared to the effect of alcohol impairment in both driver performance and crash studies. However are crash characteristics and causation mechanisms similar in crashes involving fatigue to those involving alcohol when studied in the real world? This has been explored by examining data held in the EC project SafetyNet Accident Causation Database. Causation data was recorded using the SafetyNet Accident Causation System (SNACS). The focus was on Cars/MPV crashes and drivers assigned the SNACS code Alcohol or Fatigue. The Alcohol group included 44 drivers and the Fatigue group included 47. ‘Incorrect direction’ was a frequently occurring critical event in both the Alcohol and Fatigue groups. The Alcohol group had more contributory factors related to decision making and the Fatigue group had more contributory factors relating to incorrect observations. This analysis does not allow for generalised statements about the significance of the similarities and differences between crashes involving alcohol and fatigue, however the observed differences do suggest that attempts to quantify the effect of fatigue by using levels of alcohol impairment as a benchmark should be done with care.