• May 18th, 2021

The Alabama Crash Facts Book (CFB) is an annual publication produced in part by CAPS that provides a wide breadth of traffic safety statistics for a variety of constituencies. While most of the users of the CFB are traffic safety personnel, this publication is also intended to serve as a public information conduit.

The Primary Contributing Circumstance, “Improper Lane Change/Use” was significantly over-represented in 2019, with 9,534 crashes, which is 1,375 (16.85%) more than the 8,159 such crashes that would be expected based upon those that occurred during 2016-8 and 2020.  The good news for this category of crash is that the vast majority (over 76%) of them were in the Property Damage Only category, with the number of fatal crashes being less than half that expected, with 22.  Of course, any cause of crashes that results in death is not to be trivialized.  Considering the Manner of Crash more closely, the significant over-representations were: Sideswipe – Same Direction (6,370), Angle – front to side – Same Direction (706), and Side Impact – angled – (1,019).  The question must arise: with the new safety features intended to prevent such crashes, why are they increasing?  In particular, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) were added to a large number of the late models in 2019.  Our evaluation of BSW found a reduction in “Swerved to Avoid Vehicle” and “Sideswipe – Same Direction,” but neither of these was found to be significant in the dataset of vehicles sampled.  For LKA, reductions in the proportion of the following crash types could have resulted from LKA: Evasive Action — Swerve/Brake, Ran Off the Road Right, and Ran Off the Road Left.  These results were only for the vehicles included in the datasets that were compared.  It has been noted in the literature that these features could have a downside for those drivers who overly depend on them to provide warnings of problems, and who do not exercise their own due diligence.  For the evaluations of Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA), click here.

Read the 2019 CFB here.