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Extreme-weather driving conditions have resulted in more crashes with severe injuries, according to award-winning paper.

Transportation agencies can develop better countermeasures to mitigate the severity of crash injuries from adverse weather conditions and the factors influencing driver injury severity under these conditions will be better understood, thanks to a team of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers.

Adverse weather-related driving conditions have resulted in more crashes involving severe injuries, according to UH Mānoa civil engineering Associate Professor Guohui Zhang. Zhang co-authored a paper titled, “Investigated Factors Affecting Driver Injury Severity in Snow-Related Rural Single-Vehicle Crashes” with UH Mānoa College of Engineering Associate Dean David T. Ma and a team of researchers.

Guohui Zhang

The study found an average of 5,375 fatalities and 418,005 injuries from 2007 to 2016 in the United States, which accounts for 16 percent of fatal crashes, 19 percent of injury crashes and 21 percent of total crashes. The paper also sheds light on the unique characteristics and attributes associated with single-vehicle crashes under extreme weather conditions.

The study was awarded the 2020 Best Young Researcher Paper by the Transportation Research Board Transportation Safety Management Committee.

“There were many challenges to conduct this research in order to achieve the comprehensive and useful results, such as safety data quality control and integrity verification, appropriate model development, heterogeneous factor analysis, etc. We are lucky to have the most talented students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty members to work together to address these issues,” Zhang said.

Supported by the Center for Safety Equity in Transportation and funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the team spent two years collecting data, developing a model evaluating the most likely alternative, analyzing the results and reaching conclusions.

By Justin Scott

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