Saving Lives Together

Driver behaviour

As part of the Safe System, the Safe Road Use principle involves influencing road user behaviour by:
  • Advising, educating and encouraging road users to comply with road rules.
  • Promoting the philosophy of shared responsibility.
  • Encouraging road users to drive unimpaired and alert, and according to the prevailing conditions.
  • Managing the gradual introduction of novices into the system and understanding their specific needs.
  • Taking action against those who break the rules.
Child restraint systems and the transition to standard seatbelts: A review of the literature (2018)

The aim of this literature review was to establish whether the current transition point for the transfer to standard seat belts is in line with best practice.

The research found:

  • It is more meaningful to use height than age and;
  • There is little direct research on graduation heights, but what there is suggests that children should be restrained in child car seats until 148cm (around 12 years of age).
Road safety benefit:
The research was beneficial to Government to the extent that it made six recommendations, including –
  • That the transition from a booster seat to standard seatbelt be based primarily on the height of the child, rather than age and weight.
  • That further education is provided to support parents establishing child readiness to progress from a child restraint system.
  • That our crash data record restraint status of all children.

Click to read the full PDFChild car restraint literature review

Child and adolescent pedestrians and cyclists in Western Australia: How safe are they? (2018)
The aim of this research was to explore child and adolescent crashes in WA from 2006-2016 involving 1,142 child pedestrians and 755 child cyclists at varying distances from the closest school.
 
The research found:
  • Crashes within 500m of the closest school were more likely to occur during school zone operating hours.
  • Child and adolescent pedestrian and cyclist crashes nearer to the closest school were more likely to occur in regional and remote areas than in Perth.
Road safety benefit:
The research was beneficial to the extent that Government received a report giving an overview of child pedestrians and cyclists. The report recommended continuing with the existing road safety programs targeted at children and reconsidering the sizing of school zones in regional areas.

Click to read the full PDFChild and adolescent pedestrians and cyclists

A longitudinal study examining driving performance and self-regulation practice in drivers with ongoing mild dementia via Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant (2017)
Despite the high prevalence of dementia in older drivers, a substantial gap remains in the evidence regarding the natural progression of the disease and its impact on driving performance and driver self-regulation practices.

The aim of this research was to assess longitudinal changes in the driving performance, driving self-regulation, mobility and satisfaction with mobility for older drivers with mild dementia, compared to that of older drivers without dementia.

A three-year prospective cohort study will be undertaken and will be made up of three phases:
  • Phase 1 - will be undertaken to examine the natural driving patterns and self-regulation practices of older drivers with mild dementia, compared to older drivers without dementia at baseline and one year after the initial assessment.
  • Phase 2 - of the study will utilise a state-of-the-art driving simulator to assess the driving performance of the 350 participants recruited in Phase One at baseline and one year after the initial assessment.
  • Phase 3 - involves undertaking a Delphi Study to establish consensus on evidence-based recommendations arising from Phase One and Two to manage the driving safety for older drivers with dementia. The Delphi Study will comprise of 25 experts representing key stakeholder groups who will be asked questions regarding the relevance of the study’s results, the feasibility of the potential recommendations and how to implement them.

Click to read the full PDFDriving Performance and Self-Regulation Practices in Drivers with Dementia

In-depth analysis of pedestrian serious injury crash (2017)
The aim of this research was to examine characteristics and outcomes of pedestrians hospitalised as the result of a crash in Perth and to identify countermeasures to reduce pedestrian injury crashes.
 
The research found:
  • A variety of risk factors and characteristics relating to the crashes including distraction, use of alcohol and visibility.
  • Because pedestrians are a diverse group of people, a range of measures including behaviour change, education and traffic engineering are needed.
Road safety benefit:
The research was beneficial to the extent that Government was presented with a report giving an overview of pedestrian crashes resulting in injury requiring hospitalisation. The report recommends measures to prevent pedestrian injury crashes including separating motorised and non-motorised modes of transport, increasing visibility through lighting and clothing and education programs for drivers and pedestrians regarding distraction and impairment.

In-depth analysis of pedestrian serious injury crashes

The effect of alcohol availability on road crashes at varying distances from the CBD in Perth from 2005 - 2015 (2016)
Impaired driving is a focus area for the Council.

This study examined the effects of distance from alcohol outlets to alcohol- and non-alcohol-related road crashes across the Perth metropolitan area.  Data on crashes in Perth between 2005 and 2015 was mapped in comparison with the locations of alcohol outlets. The study included 341,467 crashes that occurred between 2005 and 2015.  

The highest number of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) ≥ 0.05% crashes were in the southern postcodes from Fremantle and Rockingham on the coast, eastwards to Kelmscott and Armadale. The highest crash incidence rates occurred in 2007 and in the Central Business District (CBD).

Models indicated crashes with higher number of on-premise outlets and lower number of bottle shops in adjacent buffer zones were more likely to be alcohol-related crashes.

Road safety benefit:
This review offers some background on the relationship between alcohol-related crashes and alcohol outlets, and made recommendations on:

  • The location of roadside breath testing.
  • Coordination with the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor regarding the granting of liquor licences.

Click to read the full PDFThe effect of alcohol availability on road crashes at varying distances from the CBD in Perth, Australian from 2005 - 2015 (2016)
Click to read the full PDFThe effect of alcohol availability on road crashes at varying distances from the CBD in Perth - Appendix

The application of a proxy measure to estimate the incidence of driver fatigue (2016)
Fatigue related crashes are an ongoing road safety problem.

The aim of this research was to better understand fatigue as a contributing factor in reported road crashes in Western Australia 2009-2013, particularly those resulting in death or hospitalisation, through the comparative analysis of police reported fatigue-related crashes and fatigue crashes identified from the application of the 2002 Australian Transport Safety Bureau operational definition for fatigue. When the number of fatigue-related crashes was combined from both measures, up to 2% of all reported road crashes for the period may be fatigue-related. The combined proportion is even higher for all reported Killed and Serious Injury crashes (9%) and reported fatal crashes (17.5%).The aim of this research was to better understand fatigue as a contributing factor in reported road crashes in Western Australia 2009-2013, particularly those resulting in death or hospitalisation, through the comparative analysis of police reported fatigue-related crashes and fatigue crashes identified from the application of the 2002 Australian Transport Safety Bureau operational definition for fatigue. When the number of fatigue-related crashes was combined from both measures, up to 2% of all reported road crashes for the period may be fatigue-related. The combined proportion is even higher for all reported Killed and Serious Injury crashes (9%) and reported fatal crashes (17.5%).

Road safety benefit:
The research was beneficial to the extent that this research provides visibility into the WA fatigue crash problem, how WA currently reports on fatigue and made a number of recommendations to improve the current state. Recommendations included:

  • In consultation with MRWA, development of a WA formal proxy measure for reporting which is consistent with work being undertaken at the national level via the National Transport Commission.
  • Liaison with WA Police Force regarding current assessment practices and the barriers impacting fatigue assessments and related crash reporting.

The application of a proxy measure to estimate the incidence of driver fatigue

Illicit drugs and driving - an investigation of fatalities and traffic offences in WA (2014)
This aim of the research was to examine the prevalence and characteristics of illicit drug related driving in WA through the analysis of the records of drivers and riders fatally injured between 2000-2012 and drivers and riders charged with a Section 64AC offence (illicit substance in oral fluid), 2008-2012. The aim of the research was to give a snap shot on the enforcement of illicit drug driving.  

The research found:
  • Approximately 23% of fatally injured drivers/riders tested positive to one or more illicit substances with the annual rate of detection unchanged for the full study period, with some preliminary evidence of a decline from 2008. The odds of testing positive were significantly higher for: males; those aged under 40 years; those driving without a valid licence; those testing positive to alcohol in the range 0.05gm%-0.149gm%, and those using benzodiazepines with and without opioids.
  • Around 4% of drivers and riders undertaking a roadside oral fluid test 2008-2012 were charged with a Section 64AC offence. The annual offence rate significantly increased over the period. Offending was highest for males, younger age drivers/riders, and in the metropolitan area and select metropolitan police districts.

Road safety benefit:
This research provided an up-to-date overview of the enforcement of illicit drugs and driving, including recommendations for:

  • Data sharing.
  • Changes to the roadside oral fluid testing program.
  • Penalties.

Illicit drugs and driving - an investigation of fatalities and traffic offences in WA

A roadside survey of the blood alcohol concentration levels of night-time drivers in the Perth metropolitan area (2014)

The aim of this research was to investigate changes in driver blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels within the Perth metropolitan area over time through a replication of, and comparison with, two previous road side surveys conducted during 1999 and in 2000.

Data was collected at roadside police Random Breath Testing (RBT) sites during April to May 2012. A total of 8,435 tests were conducted over a six week period on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Around 7% of drivers tested returned a positive BAC, and 1.4% of these had BACs over the legal limit. This represents a significant reduction in the number of drivers detected with an illegal BAC compared to both of the two previous survey findings of 2.1% of drivers in 2000 and 1.9% in 1999.

Amongst the drivers with illegal BACs there was a smaller proportion of drivers detected (0.7%) in the current survey within the ≥0.05-0.079 g/100ml range compared to the two previous surveys (1.0% & 1.1%).

Road safety benefit:
The research was beneficial to the extent that it provided Government with recommendations that include:

  • Regular roadside breath testing enforcement schedules should be extended into the early hours of the morning to reflect the evolving changes in socialisation and alcohol consumption patterns.
  • Removing back calculations for blood alcohol concentrations.

A roadside survey of the blood alcohol concentration levels of night-time drivers in the Perth metropolitan area

Review of young driver risk-taking and its association with other risk-taking behaviours (2013)
This aim of this research was to document the relationship between risky driving behaviours and other health risk behaviours among youth and young adults, locally and elsewhere.

Literature reviews were undertaken of the development of risk taking; young driver behaviour; substance use including alcohol, smoking and illicit drugs; unsafe sex, and self-harm and suicide to identify and compare common risk factors for local youth and those elsewhere.

The research found that across all locations – Western Australia and elsewhere, there was consistent and good evidence of an increased risk of crash involvement for the following young drivers:
  • Males, relative to females.
  • Those in their earliest months of licensure (e.g. less than 12 months), relative to more experienced young drivers.
  • Those with a history of drink driving offences, particularly those of legal drinking age and older; e.g., 18-25 years in Australia, older than 21 years in the USA because of the higher legal drinking age.
  • Those who speed and particularly those who engage in high level speeding.

Relative to the above, there is less developed, less consistent evidence of an increased risk of crash involvement for the following young drivers in Western Australia and elsewhere:

  • High sensation seeking individuals, relative to those categorised as moderate or low on the measure.
  • Those who use mobile phones or text whilst driving.
  • Those who drive without a valid licence or have at some stage driven without one.

Road safety benefit:
This research was beneficial to the extent that it highlights the increased risk of road trauma for learner and novice drivers.

Countermeasures that can be adopted from other risk taking areas and applied to young driver risk taking were also reviewed, and the following recommendations made:

  • Strengthen the existing Western Australian Graduated Driver Training and Licensing program through the implementation of additional initiatives such as increasing the required number of Phase Two hours of supervised driving for learner drivers and restricting Provisional drivers from using mobile telephones – hands-free and handheld – whilst driving.
  • Support resilience based education and training programs for pre-learner and novice drivers such as Keys for Life.
  • Support initiatives that engage the parents and peers of learner and novice drivers to support safe young driver behaviours.
  • Development of gender specific mass media campaigns to address problem driving by young males.
  • Promotion of a harmonised national ‘best practice’ graduated driver training and licensing program.

Review of young driver risk-taking and its association with other risk-taking behaviours