Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Vehicles


Distracted driving attributable to the performance of secondary tasks is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes both among teenagers who are novice drivers and among adults who are experienced drivers.

Concepts: Vehicle, Automobile, Vehicles, Motor vehicle


Night-shift workers are at high risk of drowsiness-related motor vehicle crashes as a result of circadian disruption and sleep restriction. However, the impact of actual night-shift work on measures of drowsiness and driving performance while operating a real motor vehicle remains unknown. Sixteen night-shift workers completed two 2-h daytime driving sessions on a closed driving track at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety: (i) a postsleep baseline driving session after an average of 7.6 ± 2.4 h sleep the previous night with no night-shift work, and (ii) a postnight-shift driving session following night-shift work. Physiological measures of drowsiness were collected, including infrared reflectance oculography, electroencephalography, and electrooculography. Driving performance measures included lane excursions, near-crash events, and drives terminated because of failure to maintain control of the vehicle. Eleven near-crashes occurred in 6 of 16 postnight-shift drives (37.5%), and 7 of 16 postnight-shift drives (43.8%) were terminated early for safety reasons, compared with zero near-crashes or early drive terminations during 16 postsleep drives (Fishers exact: P = 0.0088 and P = 0.0034, respectively). Participants had a significantly higher rate of lane excursions, average Johns Drowsiness Scale, blink duration, and number of slow eye movements during postnight-shift drives compared with postsleep drives (3.09/min vs. 1.49/min; 1.71 vs. 0.97; 125 ms vs. 100 ms; 35.8 vs. 19.1; respectively, P < 0.05 for all). Night-shift work increases driver drowsiness, degrading driving performance and increasing the risk of near-crash drive events. With more than 9.5 million Americans working overnight or rotating shifts and one-third of United States commutes exceeding 30 min, these results have implications for traffic and occupational safety.

Concepts: Sleep, Termination of employment, Vehicle, Automobile, Vehicles


BACKGROUND: Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) that result in one or more fatalities on the 400-series Highways represent a serious public health problem in Ontario, and were estimated to have cost $11 billion in 2004. To date, no studies have examined risk factors for fatal MVCs on Ontario’s 400 series highways.The investigate how demographic and environmental risk factors are associated with fatal MVCs on Ontario’s 400-Series Highways. METHODS: Data were provided from the Ontario Ministry of Transport database, and included driver demographics, vehicle information, environmental descriptors, structural descriptors, as well as collision information (date and time) , and severity of the collision. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors significantly associated with the odds of dying in a collision. RESULTS: There were 53,526 vehicles involved in collisions from 2001 to 2006 included in our analysis. Results from the multivariate analysis suggest that collisions with older age and male drivers were associated with an increased risk of involving a fatality. Highway 405 and an undivided 2-way design proved to be the most fatal structural configurations. Collisions in the summer, Fridays, between 12 am-4 am, and in drifting snow conditions during the wintertime were also shown to have a significantly increased risk of fatality. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that interventions to reduce deaths as a result of MVCs should focus on both driver-related and road-related modifications.

Concepts: Death, Demography, Highway, Ontario, Vehicle, Vehicles, Highway 401, 400-series highways


Many traffic accidents take place throughout the world every day claiming lives as well as commodities and people involved in the accidents have to stay long periods at the hospitals. Traffic accidents are caused by many reasons. One of the reasons is the driver’s having a heart attack just before the accident took place. If the heartbeat of the driver can continuously be measured, then most probably one of the reasons of traffic accidents can be eliminated. The designed model aims to measure the driver’s heartbeat using infrared imaging. Some car models already have a driver heartbeat monitoring system and it measures the heartbeats by using the back seat electrodes. But these systems are expensive and unique to their models and what is more; its adaptation to other car models can pose a difficulty. Implementing on the car’s rear-view mirror this new design monitoring system is very cheap and also it can be mounted to all motor vehicles easily.

Concepts: English-language films, Tram accident, Vehicle, Automobile, Motorcycle, Truck, Vehicles, Motor vehicle


The ability of automakers to improve the fuel economy of vehicles using engineering design modifications that compromise other performance attributes, such as acceleration, is not currently considered when setting fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks. We examine the role of these design tradeoffs by simulating automaker responses to recently reformed vehicle standards with and without the ability to adjust acceleration performance. Results indicate that acceleration tradeoffs can be important in two respects: (1) they can reduce the compliance costs of the standards, and (2) they can significantly reduce emissions associated with a particular level of the standards by mitigating incentives to shift sales toward larger vehicles and light trucks relative to passenger cars. We contrast simulation-based results with observed changes in vehicle attributes under the reformed standards. We find evidence that is consistent with firms using acceleration tradeoffs to achieve compliance. Taken together, our analysis suggests that acceleration tradeoffs play a role in automaker compliance strategies with potentially large implications for both compliance costs and emissions.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Renault, Greenhouse gas, Emission standard, Vehicle, Automobile, Brake, Vehicles


Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles accounted for 24% of fatal occupational injuries in the United States during 2013 and were the leading cause of fatal injuries among workers.* In 2013, workers' compensation costs for serious, nonfatal injuries among work-related roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles were estimated at $2.96 billion.(†) Seat belt use is a proven method to reduce injuries to motor vehicle occupants (1). Use of lap/shoulder seat belts reduces the risk for fatal injuries to front seat occupants of cars by 45% and the risk to light truck occupants by 60%.(§) To characterize seat belt use among adult workers by occupational group, CDC analyzed data from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and found that not always using a seat belt was significantly associated with occupational group after controlling for factors known to influence seat belt use. Occupational groups with the highest prevalences of not always using a seat belt included construction and extraction; farming, fishing, and forestry; and installation, maintenance, and repair. To increase seat belt use among persons currently employed, states can enact and enforce primary seat belt laws, employers can set and enforce safety policies requiring seat belt use by all vehicle occupants, and seat belt safety advocates can target interventions to workers in occupational groups with lower reported seat belt use.

Concepts: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Vehicle, Automobile, Truck, Vehicles, Motor vehicle, Seat belt, Seat belt legislation


Autonomous vehicles are being viewed with scepticism in their ability to improve safety and the driving experience. A critical issue with automated driving at this stage of its development is that it is not yet reliable and safe. When automated driving fails, or is limited, the autonomous mode disengages and the drivers are expected to resume manual driving. For this transition to occur safely, it is imperative that drivers react in an appropriate and timely manner. Recent data released from the California trials provide compelling insights into the current factors influencing disengagements of autonomous mode. Here we show that the number of accidents observed has a significantly high correlation with the autonomous miles travelled. The reaction times to take control of the vehicle in the event of a disengagement was found to have a stable distribution across different companies at 0.83 seconds on average. However, there were differences observed in reaction times based on the type of disengagements, type of roadway and autonomous miles travelled. Lack of trust caused by the exposure to automated disengagements was found to increase the likelihood to take control of the vehicle manually. Further, with increased vehicle miles travelled the reaction times were found to increase, which suggests an increased level of trust with more vehicle miles travelled. We believe that this research would provide insurers, planners, traffic management officials and engineers fundamental insights into trust and reaction times that would help them design and engineer their systems.

Concepts: Scientific method, Safety, Traffic, Accident, Vehicle, Automobile, Vehicles, Manual transmission


Kavi Bhalla provides a perspective on new research by Christopher Millett and colleagues that reports rural dwellers who migrate to cities have worse cardiovascular outcomes, partly due to a shift to private motor vehicles and reduced physical activity. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Concepts: Vehicle, Automobile, Editors, Vehicles, Motor vehicle


Evidence on the short-term effects of ultrafine particles (with diameter<100nm, UFP) on health is still inconsistent. New particles in ambient urban air are the result of direct emissions and also the formation of secondary UFP from gaseous precursors. We segregated UFP into these two components and investigated their impact on daily mortality in three Spanish cities affected by different sources of air pollution.

Concepts: Air pollution, Gases, Vehicles


BACKGROUND: Few studies have looked at how obesity affects injury outcomes among vehicle occupants involved in traffic collisions. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the association of obesity with death risk among drivers of passenger vehicles aged ≥16 and to examine effect modification by driver sex, driver seat belt use, vehicle type and collision type. METHODS: We conducted a matched-pair cohort study using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. WHO body mass index (BMI) categories were calculated. Data were analysed using conditional Poisson regression. RESULTS: Estimated risk ratios (RRs) were slightly raised for underweight drivers (RR=1.19, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.63). RR increased with higher BMI categories and were 1.21 (0.98 to 1.49) for BMI 30-34.9, 1.51 (1.10 to 2.08) for BMI 35-39.9 and 1.80 (1.15 to 2.84) for BMI ≥40. Estimated BMI effects varied by gender. We found no meaningful variation across levels of vehicle type, collision type or seat belt use. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study suggest that obese vehicle drivers are more likely to die from traffic collision-related injuries than non-obese occupants involved in the same collision. Education is needed to improve seat belt use among obese people, as is research to understand the potential role of comorbidities in injury outcomes.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Nutrition, Obesity, Body mass index, Body shape, Vehicle, Automobile, Vehicles