The Roads Ahead: Collision Risks, Trends, and Safety of Drivers


*Address correspondence to S. H. Straus, ESRA Consulting Corporation, 1650 South Dixie Highway, Third Floor, Boca Raton, FL 33432, USA; tel: (561) 361-0004; fax: (520) 844-8555;


The propensity of fatal traffic collisions transcends driver age and reinforces the need to evaluate, among other factors, the impact of roadway lighting and other features of driver vision, perception, and performance. Collisions may result from a driver's inability to notice delineation, recognize warnings, and other possible road safety controls during various lighting conditions. Hence we compare the relative accident involvement ratio (RAIR) of collisions of millions of drivers from two U.S. States over an 11-year period, 1991–2001. We associate collision trends through RAIR with bathtub curves that are commonly identified with product failure and reliability engineering. Hence we observe the need for improved and automated driver's license testing techniques and applications, especially as these relate to the visual and cognitive abilities of drivers of all ages. Our findings may ultimately improve motorist safety, save lives, and benefit numerous other states, countries, and agencies, including, but not limited to, aviation, commercial vehicles, maritime, and rail sectors, among others.