IFSTTAR, TS2, LMA, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks; Department of Transport Health and Safety, F-13300 Salon-de-Provence, France
Collisions between pedestrians and reversing vehicles in public settings have received little attention in France. Yet, according to the national statistics on traffic accidents, reversing vehicles are involved in 6.5% of the 11,700 pedestrian accidents recorded each year (over the 2008-2015 period). Moreover, this proportion is probably underestimated in these statistics.
This work aims to provide a brief assessment of this problem in the French case, in quantitative and qualitative terms.
A random sample of 882 police reports on pedestrian accidents occurring in public settings in France was studied to identify the reversing collisions among them. Then, the reversing accidents found (61 cases) were thoroughly analysed to improve our knowledge of the mechanisms involved.
Reversing collisions account for about 7% of pedestrian accidents in public settings. Pedestrians aged 60 or over (73% of the pedestrian victims) and commercial and goods vehicles are over-represented in these collisions. Pedestrians often fail to see the reversing vehicle, fail to anticipate its manoeuvre, or are not able to get out its path. Drivers generally fail to see the pedestrian before the collision. The reasons for the reversing manoeuvres are identified and suggest that these manoeuvres could partly be avoided.
In France, reversing accidents represent a non-negligible proportion of pedestrian accidents in public settings. It appears that, in addition to the influence of limited rearward visibility in vehicles, certain road layouts play a role in these accidents by encouraging or forcing drivers to make reversing manoeuvres (at least for large vehicles).
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