Some implications of an event-based definition of exposure to the risk of road accident
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAccident Analysis and Prevention. 2015, 76 (March), 15-24. 10.1016/j.aap.2014.12.011
This paper proposes a new definition of exposure to the risk of road accident as any event, limited in space and time, representing a potential for an accident to occur by bringing road users close to each other in time or space of by requiring a road user to take action to avoid leaving the roadway. A typology of events representing a potential for an accident is proposed. Each event can be interpreted as a trial as defined in probability theory. Risk is the proportion of events that result in an accident. Defining exposure as events demanding the attention of road users implies that road users will learn from repeated exposure to these events, which in turn implies that there will normally be a negative relationship between exposure and risk. Four hypotheses regarding the relationship between exposure and risk are proposed. Preliminary tests support these hypotheses. Advantages and disadvantages of defining exposure as specific events are discussed. It is argued that developments in vehicle technology are likely to make events both observable and countable, thus ensuring that exposure is an operational concept.