Road user safety
Research in Road User Safety investigates the role played by human operators in road crashes, and explores potential interventions to prevent road accidents, or reduce their impact.
Our Road User Safety research is primarily conducted through the internationally recognised Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR). Our researchers’ particular areas of focus include changes to licensing systems and law enforcement practices, and road-user education and behaviour.
Our Road User Safety work benefits, and is of immediate relevance to, all road users, whether they be drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians. It also influences government policy and practice, and guides interventions focused on safe vehicles, roads and speeds.
Road crashes take an enormous human and economic toll on society, and road-user error and aberrant driving behaviour are implicated in nearly all incidents. Consequently, our research is dedicated to reducing and improving these factors.
As part of this, we seek to determine the likely human response to proposed future changes in vehicles, roads and vehicle speeds, in pursuit of the ultimate aim of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
CASR’s research regularly translates to significant real-world outcomes.
For example, its study of young drivers’ early on-road experiences, in collaboration with the South Australian Government, led to new legislation and the 2014 implementation of a graduated licensing system. Now considered one of Australia’s best, the system has significantly reduced road trauma, contributing to a 45% reduction in fatalities for drivers aged 16 to 19, and a 20% reduction in young-driver serious injuries.
CASR also developed a new hazard perception test (HPT) for use in Australian and New Zealand licensing systems, and this was implemented in Western Australia in 2017. The computer-administered HPT assesses the novice driver’s ability to detect hazards in the road and traffic environment. In a world first, CASR also developed an HPT for novice motorcyclists.
We are regularly invited to provide independent professional advice on road user safety matters to government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas. This includes on topics such as:
- licensing systems
- enforcement practices
- medical fitness to drive
- policies related to alcohol and drug impaired driving.
We have expertise across a wide range of areas. Many of our researchers are available to assist with research project supervision for Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy students.
Research team Expertise Dr Matthew Baldock Older road users; Motorcycling; Alcohol and drug impaired driving Dr Lisa Wundersitz Child and young driver road safety; Driver impairment; Development and evaluation of road safety campaigns/programs Dr Trevor Bailey Road user education; Older drivers; Human factors in the safe system Dr James Thompson Older road users; Driver behaviour; Crash trends Simon Raftery Community attitudes to speed, Recidivist offenders, Safety marketing Sally Edwards In-depth crash investigation; Clinical psychology; Human factors
To enquire about consulting services or working with us on a research project, please contact:
Deputy Director, Centre for Automotive Safety Research