An accident centred approach to primary safety strategy development for vehicles
This thesis addresses the development of a methodology to determine primary safety strategy with respect to the choice of appropriate technological solutions to the problem of accidents in cars. In motorised societies in the 1990s, road accidents are a major cause of loss of life, injury and property damage. Motor manufacturers have increasingly been concerned with reducing the effects of accidents and have recently been developing technologies to attempt to reduce the number of accidents on the roads. Traditionally, these technologies have been transferred from other domains into vehicles, (principally from aerospace). Two problems however exist with this approach. Firstly, developing solutions on the basis of what is technologically feasible may ignore the requirements of the drivers in terms of systems that would actually be of benefit whilst driving. In part, this is due to an incomplete understanding of the reasons why drivers have accidents in cars. Secondly, motor manufacturers are faced with an ever increasing number of potential systems that they may develop and eventually implement in cars. Currently, they have no methodology to determine which of these systems, if any, should be researched or developed further. This thesis addresses both of these issues. Firstly, a large scale questionnaire survey was conducted using a population of recently accident involved drivers drawn from the insurance group of a major motor manufacturer. The survey was designed to obtain information from drivers pertaining to the reasons for the occurrence of their accident. This information was more detailed than had previously been gained from drivers after they have been involved in accidents in cars. This data was built upon in the second study of the thesis, which used real life accident data to develop a methodology to determine safety strategy for a motor manufacturer. Focus groups using a variety of employees of the motor manufacturer were employed to correlate accident scenarios with a series of functionally defined accident countermeasures. When combined with quantitative data from the questionnaire survey, assessments of the overall efficacy of the countermeasures could be deduced. From this, an outline strategy for primary safety system development was deduced.