Identifier

etd-07092008-205524

Degree

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Though teenage drivers constitute only 6.4 percent of the total drivers in United States, they are responsible for 14 percent of the fatal crashes and are involved in 18 percent of all police-reported crashes in the country. One of the main causes of teenage crashes was found to be the presence of passengers in the vehicle. This study is focused on the effect of passengers on young drivers in the state of Louisiana. There have been efforts from traffic safety departments to contain crashes involving this age group of drivers and, particularly the Graduated Driver's License Law, which imposes restrictions on driving conditions of young drivers, was introduced in almost every state in the country to address this issue. This study analyses the crash database obtained from the Louisiana Department of Transportation (LaDOTD) from years 1999 to 2004 using the quasi-induced exposure technique. This technique is used to disaggregate crashes by different characteristics or circumstances and to make estimates of the relative travel exposure for these different characteristics. Relationships are developed to investigate the effect of passengers on young drivers’ (age 15 to 21) crash propensity. Three passenger groups were used; solo (no passenger), peer, and adult or child. Different variables were considered for possible interaction with passenger group: driver gender, occupant gender, time of week, time of day, and safety-restraint usage. It was found from this study that young drivers were involved in fewer crashes when they travel with adults and/or with children and have an increased propensity to being involved in single-vehicle crashes when they are traveling with their peers. It was also found that they are highly prone to crashes when they drive at night and when the number of peer passengers increase in the vehicle. All these results point to restructuring the existing Graduated Driver's License Law in Louisiana to contain crashes involving teenage drivers.

Date

2008

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chester G Wilmot

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