Analysis of trends in the composition of Australasian vehicle fleets associated with pedestrian injury severity
Keywords: Vehicle Safety Standards, Injury Severity, Pedestrian
Submission Date: August 16, 2018 Journal
Suggested Citation: Keall, M.D., D’Elia, A., Newstead, S., and Watson, L. (2018). Analysis of trends in the composition of Australasian vehicle fleets associated with pedestrian injury severity. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety, 29(3), 22-29.
Australasian fleets have changed substantially over the past decade, with SUVs and light commercial vehicles becoming more popular. These vehicles have been shown in other studies to impose higher fatality risk to pedestrians. For newer vehicles, pedestrian safety may also benefit from international New Car Assessment Program protocols and safety regulation. To quantify such vehicle fleet effects on pedestrian injury severity, this paper analyses pedestrian injury outcomes using Australian crash data. Younger drivers (aged 25 and under) and male drivers were associated with higher severity pedestrian injury. Collisions with commercial vehicles (vans and utility vehicles) and SUVs were associated with higher odds of fatal and serious pedestrian injury than collisions with cars, which is likely to be related to their frontal structure configuration. There was a trend towards better injury outcomes when the vehicle had a more recent year of manufacture, consistent with – but not necessarily attributable to – changes in vehicle design. Trends over the past 15 years were also assessed using crash data from New Zealand and five Australian States. All other factors being equal, increasing proportions of SUVs and commercial vehicles in these fleets will have increased pedestrian injury severity risks. Nevertheless, this was more than counterbalanced by a reduction in injury severity associated with newer vehicles entering the fleets. The strong effects of vehicle factors found in our analysis support assessment protocols and safety regulations that measure the impact of vehicle frontal structure design on pedestrian injury outcomes.