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CE 198 Undergraduate Research Program in Civil Engineering Final Paper

31 March 2008 Major Field: Transportation Engineering

Analysis of Relationship between Driver Characteristic and Road Accidents along Commonwealth Avenue
GARNER TED C. LIBRES MA. LOURDES I. GALVEZ CATHLEEN JOYCE N. CORDERO B.S. Civil Engineering Program Department of Civil Engineering, University of the Philippines Diliman Email:,,
Adviser: Dr. Hilario Sean O. Palmiano Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Sciences, University of the Philippines Diliman Abstract: Commonwealth Avenue, the widest road in the Philippines, connects many districts and is filled with almost all types of transportation vehicles. In 2005 and 2006, the number of accidents that occurred in this avenue is close to 2500. Accidents occur when there is a failure among the relationships of human, road, and vehicle factors. Based on MMARAS reports, human factor is the biggest contributor to road accidents. This study aims to find specific driver characteristics that largely contribute to road accidents along Commonwealth Avenue. Furthermore, this study relates the driver error to other categories such as severity of accident, type of vehicle involved, junction type and collision type. Using data gathered from MMARAS and Traffic Sector 5 blotter records, the group were able to get cross tabulations between driver error and the aforementioned categories. Based on analysis, it was found out that speeding is the most frequent error committed by drivers involved in accidents along Commonwealth Avenue and is dominant in non-junctions. Its width, having 6-8 lanes, also encourages drivers to speed up. Speeding resulted to relatively high number of injuries and fatalities mainly because as the speed of traffic increases, the severity of injuries usually increases. Same with speeding, wide and multilane road promotes overtaking. This driver error is likewise dominant in a non-junction. Inattentiveness resulted to the highest number of injuries and fatalities and is usually committed in non-junctions.

1. INTRODUCTION Background of the Study Increase in road traffic congestion and accidents are two of the major effects observable due to rapid motorization and urbanization growth in most AsiaPacific countries. Several others include air pollution also largely due to vast motor vehicle volumes, and increase in urban poor population and its related problems. Although urbanization improved the regions economic growth as generated by Asian cities, its negative impacts on the countries cannot be ignored. Road traffic accidents are one of the world's largest contributors to injury problems, loss of lives, and damage to property. According to the World Health Organization more than one million people are killed on the worlds roads each year. Along with this, road accidents also amount to substantial economic losses due to various costs associated with them like medical, damage repair, administrative, and other social and opportunity related costs. Metro Manila, being the capital of the Philippines, can be considered as the focal point of urbanization and motorization in Luzon, if not the country itself. Metro Manila road networks primarily consist of long thoroughfares connecting its many cities and municipalities. Some of these major thoroughfares are EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, C-5 Road etc. Traffic congestion and accidents continue to increase

as the traffic volume increases, every time requiring new engineering solutions to the problems they bring. Several schemes have been tried to address the problems of congestion and accidents along the different thoroughfares. These include installation of road geometry controls like delineation of lanes for different vehicle types and fenced segments of roadside lane to guide loading and unloading of commuters. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reports these schemes as output from studies utilizing traffic simulation software program inputting parameters like road width and traffic volume. The problem, however, remains as the fact that human related factors are still given the least priority. Bad driving habits will always work against traffic engineering solutions, and unless given the proper attention required, will only render any road improvement and traffic management scheme useless. Thus, for future engineering solutions to actually solve the problem, human related factors contributing to road accidents must be given high priority in road traffic safety planning and management. Among the major thoroughfares cited above, the highest accident count is in EDSA in terms of total absolute accident frequencies. Commonwealth Avenue ranks in second, but in terms of fatal severity of accidents, the avenue ranks in first. Commonwealth Avenue is currently dubbed by the press as a killer road. Human related factors are reflected by driver errors listed in the Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis

System (MMARAS) of the MMDA. Driver error refers to mistakes committed by a person while driving a motor vehicle resulting to an accident. The MMARAS lists many variables under the category name of Accident Factors which include the driver errors. A large percentage of road accidents along Commonwealth Avenue for 2006 alone is related to driver errors. Some of these errors are inattentiveness, being drunk or sleepy, driving too fast and disobeying traffic signs. From these, some of the driver behaviors that tend to increase frequency of accidents along Commonwealth Avenue can be observed, i.e. overtaking, excessive lane-changing, aggressive driving behavior, high-speed driving encouraged by wide road, lack of willingness or failure to give way on intersections, loading and unloading outside designated areas and multitasking while doing a maneuver. Statement of the Problem Very little attention is given to driver-related problems and available information about these problems is still not verified for the Philippine setting. The large accident rate, especially regarding fatal accidents along Commonwealth Avenue made the researchers consider studying the area focusing on the identified driver errors and observable behaviors that can be related to them. Significance of the Study The study will provide analysis on information regarding the traffic accident rates along Commonwealth Avenue. Relationship of some human related factors to other factors believed to be involved will be explored. The study will also propose possible explanations and profile these errors versus other nonhuman factors considered. Based from the data analysis and other related studies, the group will also recommend possible options to address the problem. Road traffic accidents have been growing rapidly with increasing population and rapid motorization. According to analysis of World Health Organization (WHO), 500,000 people are killed in road crashes in Asia each year. Although, number of deaths, injuries and property damages involved in road accidents are underreported, majority of these accidents involve people who are most of the time, head of households. Their deaths and being injured often significantly reduce family incomes and therefore have serious consequences on the household quality of life (ADB 2005). According to De Leon et al (2005), each accident entails economic cost, not to mention the social cost of pain, grief, and suffering of families of the victims. It also has an adverse impact on the resources of the government. This study could help in decreasing these losses by providing recommendations to minimize road traffic accidents.

Objectives of the Study The main objective of this study is to determine the relationship between driver characteristics and road accident along Commonwealth Avenue. It aims to find the driver characteristics that largely contribute to road traffic accident. To explore this relationship, the researchers identified the following specific objectives: Describe driver habits and behaviors that can be related to driver errors identified. Determine critical driver error/s related to severity of crash, junction types, and vehicle types. Identify and focus on blackspots with highest accident count. Determine critical driver errors related to severity of crash, and vehicle type per selected blackspot. Identify traffic volume rates per mode of driving (public/private) and identify critical vehicle types. Determine critical driver errors related to severity of crash and junction types for the critical vehicle types. Determine distribution of age among drivers involved in road traffic accidents. Summarize findings for macro, micro and auxiliary analysis.

Scope and Limitation This study is limited to driver characteristics and road accidents along Commonwealth Avenue. The focus will mainly be on the driver errors in relation to other accident factors identified in the MMARAS report. This study is limited to traffic accidents that occurred along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City from 2006 to 2007. Furthermore, it will involve the existing traffic management system and regulations in Metro Manila. 2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Numerous studies conducted outside the Philippines have shown that road accidents are largely influenced by human error, 57% of total accidents was caused by human error alone (Green et al., 2004). MMARAS has presented similar results. Metropolitan Manila Accident and Reporting Analysis System (MMARAS) is used by the Metropolitan Road Safety Unit (MRSU) in gathering and recording road accident data. MMRAS classifies the accident into three according to severity; fatal, non-fatal and damage to property. The number of accidents that occurred along Commonwealth Avenue from 2006 is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Accidents by Month and Severity (from Metropolitan Road Safety Unit Annual Report 2006) MONTH DAMAGE FATAL NON FATAL 2006 2006 2006 JAN 176 1 64 146 2 43 FEB 178 1 46 MAR 146 1 51 APR 151 3 36 MAY 176 5 38 JUNE 148 1 35 JULY 144 3 46 AUG 164 0 51 SEPT 151 0 65 OCT 174 3 67 NOV DEC 186 3 63 TOTAL 1940 23 605

database are: alcohol suspected, bad overtaking, bad turning, disobey enforcers signal, disobey sign or traffic lights, inattentive, inattentive/too fast, tired/asleep, too close, too fast and too fast/too close as shown in Table 2 below.
Table 2. Accident Factors by Severity (from Metropolitan Road Safety Unit Annual Report 2006) ACCIDENT DAMAGE FATAL NON TOTAL FACTORS FATAL Alcohol suspected 1 1 Bad overtaking 263 1 37 301 Bad turning 187 19 206 Disobey enforcer's signal 5 5 Disobey sign or traffic lights 71 10 81 Inattentive 33 12 188 233 Inattentive / Too fast 100 1 19 120 Mechanical defect suspected 22 22 Other 6 3 9 Tired / Asleep 1 1 Too close 15 16 31 Too fast 206 5 102 313 Too fast / Too close 32 2 34 (blank) 1026 4 181 1211 GRAND TOTAL 1940 23 605 2568

It is also specified if the accident occurred in a junction. If the accident happened in a junction, the type of junction and the junction control is specified. Crossroads, U turn slot, Y junction, rotunda are some of the junction types. Junction control is defined as the sign, marking or other medium used to control traffic in the junction such as traffic lights and give way signs or markings. Other details included in the MMARAS Reports are the weather condition, collision type, types of person and vehicle involved and accident factors. Collision can be angle impact, side swipe, rear-end, hit pedestrian and hit object. Angle impact collision is when the front or rear of a vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. These collisions occur almost usually at locations where driveways or minor streets intersect higher volume streets, particularly where traffic congestion or limited sight distance is present. Most common intersection crashes were due to failure to yield the right-of-way and disregarding traffic control. Side swipe occurs when two vehicles experience sliding contact. These collisions usually happen in highly congested area and also in turning slots. A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle runs into the rear of another vehicle that is traveling in the same direction. This accident type does not include collisions with parked cars. Rear-end collisions frequently occur when a vehicle suddenly overtakes another vehicle that has slowed or stopped unexpectedly. Traffic congestion and limited sight distance can increase the number of rear-end collisions. Hit pedestrian is when the vehicle bumped a pedestrian crossing the road or is merely on the sidewalk. Pedestrians who do not utilize overpasses and footbridges and drivers inattention could be the cause of this collision. Lastly, hit object is when a vehicle encounters accident by bumping into an object on the road such as concrete barriers and fences. Inattention and poor road geometry are the possible causes of this collision type. Accident factors can be human error, vehicle type and road environment. Based on MRSU reports, a very large percentage of the accidents are attributed to human error. These errors as listed in the MMARAS

3. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The three major factors considered in traffic management and road design are road user behaviour, road environment, and vehicle type (figure 1). Accident occurs if there is failure in one or a combination of these factors.


Deficiencies or Errors

Traffic Accident


Figure 1. Three Major Factors Considered in Management and Road Design

Included with road users are the drivers. Some of the driver behaviours that could be a cause of accident were already mentioned in the introduction. Some factors that could influence driver competence would be the age, driving experience, and complexity of task (Stefano & Macdonald, 2003). Also, severity of crash depends on driver reaction time, which can be attributed to driver characteristics (Bautista, 1995). As mentioned earlier, human errors causing traffic accidents along Commonwealth Avenue could also

be influenced by road and vehicle factors. Road factors could be in terms of junction types and width of road while vehicle factors could be in terms of collision types of accidents and the type of vehicle itself, which can be related to driving experience and skill required in maneuvering different vehicle sizes. 4. DATA ANALYSIS Data is cross tabulated as intended in the specific objectives --- relating driver error to other categories for both the macro and micro analysis. Data representing accidents along Commonwealth Avenue from January 2006 to July 2007 is crosstabulated as driver error vs. severity, driver error vs. vehicle type and driver error vs. junction type to observe the relationship of driver error to the other categories. The top 3 driver errors that comprise 85% of traffic accidents are speeding (41%), overtaking (24%) and inattentiveness (18%). The main contributing factor for fatal accidents and accidents resulting to injury is inattentiveness (49% of fatal and 44% of injury). For accidents resulting to property damage alone, 45% were caused by speeding. Cars account for the vast majority (46%) of vehicles involved in road accidents. Jeepneys comprise 13% of vehicles involved, followed by motorcycles, PUBs, FX/taxi, vans and trucks. Also, based on the tabulation, 99 percent of the accidents caused by overtaking error resulted to side swipe collision, 71 percent of the accidents caused by improper turning resulted to side swipe collision, 56 percent of the accidents caused by speeding resulted to side wipe collision, 63 percent of the accidents caused by inattentiveness resulted to hit pedestrian, 49 percent and 46 percent of the accidents caused by driving too close resulted to rear end and side swipe, respectively. For a U-turn slot, the dominant driver error is improper turn (46%). In crossroads the prevailing driver error is speeding (60%). In nonjunction, the top 3 frequently recorded errors are overtaking (46%), speeding (34%) and inattentiveness (14%). The principal driver error in a T-junction is improper turn (51%) and for Y-junction is inattentiveness (53%). Tandang Sora and segment fronting Ever Gotesco Mall were consistently in the top 10 blackspots from 2006-2007. For each blackspot, driver error vs. severity and driver error vs. vehicle type were tabulated. Tandang Sora is categorized under crossroad junction. It has 6 lanes per direction. Ever Gotesco is under T-junction; it has 4 lanes per direction. Both are servicing large number of commuters and are composed of loading areas. Also, these areas have overpasses for pedestrians. In Ever Gotesco Mall, overtaking (50%) and speeding (28%) are the top 2 prevailing driver errors. Based on the tabulation, injuries are mainly caused by driver inattentiveness and speeding. While in Tandang Sora

intersection, speeding (55%) and inattentiveness (37%) are the top 2 prevailing driver errors and damage and injury are mainly caused by driver inattentiveness and speeding. 5. CONCLUSIONS This study relates the driver error to other categories such as severity of accident, type of vehicle involved, junction type and collision type. Speeding is the most frequent error committed by drivers involved in accidents along Commonwealth Avenue and is dominant in non junctions. Drivers tend to accelerate in these non-junctions because they do not anticipate obstructions such as vehicle coming out of intersections, pedestrians and turning slots among others. Its width, having 6-8 lanes, also encourages drivers to speed up. Speeding resulted to relatively high number of injuries and fatalities mainly because as the speed of traffic increases, the severity of injuries usually increases. Same with speeding, wide and multilane road promotes overtaking. This driver error is likewise dominant in a non-junction. Inattentiveness resulted to the highest number of injuries and fatalities and is usually committed in non-junctions. As mentioned earlier, drivers fail to anticipate obstructions in a non-junction. The vast majority of accidents along Commonwealth Avenue involve cars because cars are the most frequent road users. For public utility vehicles, jeepneys have the highest number of accident involvement followed by buses. But in accident involvement per one million vehicles, buses followed by trucks have the highest accident involvement. For both of these vehicle types, overtaking is the prevalent driver error. Overtaking caused most of the property damages while speeding caused most number of injuries for buses. For trucks, damage is mostly caused by speeding while inattentiveness caused most number of injuries. Speeding as mentioned earlier can be attributed to the wide road while inattentiveness for truck drivers may be caused by fatigue and lack of sleep. Trucks are usually used in long distance travels to transport goods and other materials and are done usually at night or dawn causing sleepiness or fatigue to truck drivers. Overtaking and speeding are the frequent errors committed by public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers (i.e. PUJ, PUB and taxi/FX). These drivers primary goal is to transport as many commuters as possible in the shortest possible travel time. The perception more trips, more income pushes drivers to speed up and overtake other PUVs and slower vehicles. Due to lack of conclusive data, the effect of demographic information (age and gender) on road accidents cannot be analyzed in this research.

6. RECOMMENDATIONS This study presented the vehicles that have most accident involvement. Bus and truck drivers should be given utmost attention since they cause relatively grave injuries. Trainings and seminars focusing on how to improve their driving skills should be conducted. Wide roads encourage speeding and overtaking. Lane delineation may help in the reduction of overtaking and speeding of vehicles. To have a deeper analysis on driver behavior and accidents it is highly recommended that a study be conducted on how to improve the MMARAS database, data collection and traffic accident investigation. The MMARAS database can be made more comprehensive by: removing irregularity in data and variables. For example, each junction and segment (section between junctions) should have a code. defining the variables or classifications used in the traffic accident forms and in the database. educating all traffic enforcers/ traffic investigators on how to accurately report details of the accident. This is done to minimize under reporting. In some cases, completion of data may not be possible for a number of reasons. It would be very useful that investigators enter remarks or comments on why some details are missing. REFERENCES 1. Bautista, D. B. (1995). Serious Road Traffic Accidents in the City of Manila for Traffic, A Compendium of Graduate Theses in Transportation (1993-2003) National Center for Transportation Studies, 89-94 Stefano, M.D., & Macdonald, W.(2003). Assessment of older drivers: Relationships among on-road errors, medical conditions and test outcome, Journal of Safety Research 34, 415 429,La Trobe University, Australia Shbeeb, L., et al.(2004).The relation between speed-lane choice and road accidents in Jordan, Third International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, Al Balqa Applied University Naveh, E., & Marcus, A.(2002).A re-assessment of road accident data analysis policy, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota Umemura, Y., (2004). Driver behavior and active safety: an overview, R&D Review of Toyota CRDL Vol. 39 No.2 Metropolitan Road Safety Unit, Annual Report 2006-2007, MRSU, Manila.

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