12:07am Sunday 12 July 2020

Monash to lead world-first study into the causes of serious injury accidents


MUARCFindings from this unprecedented three-year study will be used to reduce the incidences of serious injury crashes as the state government aims to reduce road trauma by 30 per cent by 2022.

The Enhanced Crash Investigation Study (ECIS) will examine more than 400 serious injury crashes in microscopic detail to gain an in-depth understanding of what causes such crashes.

The $8 million research initiative, launched on Friday 14 March, will look at more than 5,000 pieces of individual information relating to each of the 400 crashes to determine the leading factors in how they occur and subsequent injuries.

Leading the research will be Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI) Associate Professor Michael Fitzharris, who says the initiative will aim to shift the focus from fatalities to serious injury crashes.

Associate Professor Fitzharris said the study would provide a holistic approach to determining the causes of serious injury accidents using information never before collected.

Each of the 400 cases will see survivors of serious injury accidents interviewed about the cause of the crash and how it happened. This will be followed by an investigation of the crash sight as well as the type of injuries incurred.

“This is the first time we have had the opportunity to take such an holistic approach to why and how serious injury accidents occur so that we can determine how it can be prevented in the future,” Associate Professor Fitzharris said.

“This study will provide us with significant detail into the behavioural elements of serious injury accidents and why they occur.”

Associate Professor Fitzharris said each crash would be reconstructed using sophisticated technology, which would include retrieving data from recorders that are built into modern cars to record the five seconds leading up to a crash, much like black boxes in aeroplanes.

Pulling all the data together, Associate Professor Fitzharris said each serious injury accident would then be reported on an individual basis to be included in the study. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to validate what the drivers have been saying and providing information that we’ve not had before.”

Monash University.

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