To err (on the road) is human? An on-road study of driver errors
Human error, its causes and consequences, and the ways in which it can be prevented, remain of great interest to road safety practitioners. This paper presents the findings derived from an on-road study of driver errors in which 25 participants drove a pre-determined route using Monash University Accident Research Centre’s On-Road Test Vehicle (ORTeV). In-vehicle observers recorded the different errors made, and a range of other data was collected, including driver verbal protocols, forward, cockpit and driver video, and vehicle data (speed, braking, steering wheel angle, lane tracking etc). Participants also completed a post trial cognitive task analysis interview. The drivers tested made a range of different errors, with speeding violations, both intentional and unintentional, being the most common. Further more detailed analysis of a sub-set of specific error types indicates that driver errors have various causes, including failures in the wider road ‘system’ such as poor roadway design, infrastructure failures and unclear road rules. In closing, a range of potential error prevention strategies, including intelligent speed adaptation and road infrastructure design, are discussed.