Eye movement recording as a tool for accident in-depth investigations: a pilot study

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Torbjörn Falkmer

In order to increase traffic safety for unprotected road users in Sweden, aproject based on accident in-depth investigations was carried out. Theproject focused on accidents between unprotected road users and motorvehicles. The accident in-depth investigations studied the pre crash phase.As part of the investigations, eye movement recordings and analyses were donein order to identify possible "mechanical filters", i.e. obstacles of allsorts that prevent adequate visual information to reach the driver at theroad accident site. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate whether ornot eye movement analyses could be a useful tool for better understanding ofthe accident causation and, furthermore, for identification of possible"mechanical filters" in the traffic environment. The results from this pilotstudy showed that in 75 % of the investigated accidents, in which eyemovement recording were part of the investigation, the eye movement analysesplayed a major or conclusive role. Furthermore, eye movement analyses couldbe used in the reconstruction of accidents. It was suggested that investmentin an eye tracker and in employing medically educated professionals may be agood investment, if it can lead to a decrease in traffic accidents bypointing out "mechanical filters" leading to accidents.

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