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Citation Information : Transport Problems. Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 105-113, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/tp.2019.14.1.10
License : (CC-BY-4.0)
Received Date : 29-June-2017 / Accepted: 08-March-2019 / Published Online: 23-April-2019
The article concentrates on road safety in Poland, which is one of the countries with a high number of fatalities in European Union. As the passenger cars are the mostly involved in traffic accidents with fatalities, this type of vehicles was analyzed to check relationship between age of the vehicle and its involvement in accidents with fatalities. This type of scientific analysis was made for the first time. For carrying out this research, a method of estimating passenger car fleet in motion in Poland was designed, as the official data were not updated and provided wrong information. The updated information on passenger car fleet when compared with that on the age of vehicles involved in road accidents with fatalities showed that the age of a vehicle has influence on the occurrence of road accidents in Poland. Presented data showed that the fact that people involved in accidents are at a higher risk of loss of life depends on the age of a vehicle. The data from analysis conducted between 2014 and 2015 showed that the risk of being killed increases with the age of the vehicle. Chances of the loss of life of people involved in accident participants are three times more in the case of more than 21 year old cars compared to 5 years old cars.
Road safety is a major society issue on a global scale. In 2013, more than 30,000 people died on the roads of the European Union. For every death on Europe’s roads, there are estimated 4 permanently disabling injuries such as damage to the brain or spinal cord, 8 serious injuries, and 50 minor injuries . The threat of road accidents in Poland has been very high for years. Fatalities per million inhabitants in Poland, despite downward trend compared to other European Union countries, are still estimated to be one of the highest. There were 79 fatalities per million inhabitants in Poland in 2016, when the average risk for European Union countries were 50, 5 fatalities per 1 million inhabitants .
Poland adopted strategic document, National Road Safety Programme, with assumed drop in the number of fatalities by 50% and seriously injured by 40% between 2010 and 2020. This means that in the course of the implementation of the assumptions of the National Road Safety Programme 2020 (NRSP 2020) on Polish roads, by 2020, there should not be more than 2000 fatalities and no more than 6900 serious injuries . There were 33664 road accidents in which 3 026 people were killed and 40 766 were injured, in Poland, in year 2016 . The comparison of data from 2010 to 2016 indicates that even seven years after the implementation of NRSP the percentage of fatalities has still not changed (7%), the rate of slightly injured has decreased by only 6 percentage points (from 71% to 65%), and the rate of seriously injured increased by 6 percentage point (from 22% to 28%) (Figure 1) . From this situation, it has been observed that the goals outlined in the National Road Safety Program 2020 were not achieved in terms of decreasing the number of fatalities and reducing the number of serious injuries.
Over 10 year period, between 2006 and 2016, the number of vehicles in the Poland increased by 58% (from 18 035,0 to 28 601,0 vehicles) and the number of passenger cars increased higher by 61.9% (from 13 384,2 to 21 675,3 cars). The threats indicators between 2006 and 2016 according to the numbers of accidents, fatalities, injuries, serious injuries are shown in Table 1.
Polish Road Safety Observatory data indicates that drivers of passenger car caused most of the accidents with fatalities and they were mostly the accident’s victims (46.8%).
Due to high risk of life loss in or by a passenger car, this means of transport has been chosen for analysis to find out whether the age of a vehicle influences the road safety. The analysis was carried out with data on the number of accidents and fatalities related to passenger cars between 2014 and 2015 in Poland in terms of:
1. number of passenger cars involved:
2. number of fatalities caused by passenger cars:
The total number of passenger cars involved in fatal accidents was divided into five different age groups, depending on the year of production, to show the age impact on the possibility of fatalities.
In order to carry out the analysis in accordance with the adopted assumptions, the number of passenger cars in Poland was also determined.
The data on the number of road accidents, fatalities and injuries were collected from the database of accident and collisions (SEWiK) from Police Headquarter for the studied years. The data were then transferred for analysis to Motor Transport Institute (MTI) for compliance with Polish Road Safety Observatory. MTI is sending to European Union an official Polish data on number of accidents, fatalities and injuries every year. Main problems related to the road safety in Poland are speeding, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclist, and young drivers. There is no analysis made so far to answer whether the age of a car affects the road accidents and is real danger in road traffic. The analysis that the age of a passenger car impacts the road accidents (drivers and passengers of the vehicle) was carried out in Polish Road Safety Observatory in 2016 to answer the question. Before carrying out the analysis the number of fatalities had to be compared with the number of vehicle fleet. As the number of the vehicle fleet in Poland has been questioned for years (many of these vehicles are no longer driven on roads and most of them fail to exist at all), the estimation of vehicle fleet was the first step to start analysis with. Statistics according to the fatalities based on the transport mode in Poland indicated passenger cars as the most dangerous vehicles.
Analysis of the influence of vehicle age on road safety was limited to passenger car***. Passenger cars are the most significant in vehicle fleet in Poland and this type of vehicles is usually involved in road accidents with fatalities. The age structure of passenger cars driven in Poland is very diverse; many of them were manufactured in the last century. Design, passive and active protection equipment in old cars against injuries and deaths during accidents do not meet today’s security standards.
Analysis of road accident and fatality statistics according to the means of transport in Poland clearly indicates that passenger cars are more dangerous than truck, bus, bicycle, motor, or motorcycle. This type of mode of transport is most frequently involved in accidents with deaths inside the vehicle (drivers and passengers) and outside the vehicle (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists). Mentioned below are the numbers of people killed on road by different transport modes in Poland between 2012 and 2016. Data were compiled by Motor Transport Institute in Polish Road Safety Observatory, according to the data on road accidents collected by General Police Headquarter Database and the records of Central Register of Vehicles (Table 2 and Fig. 2) .
The number of vehicle fleet in Poland has been questioned for many years. An official database on the number of vehicles is Central Register of Vehicles (CEP), which is not a reliable source of data, many vehicles are no longer driven on roads and most of them fail to exist at all, but still their records are in the database. Vehicles in the database have to be updated at least once in a year. Updating means updating the information on making technical approval (MOT), insurance, and change of owner. A lot of institutions have made attempts on basis of the records of the Central Register of Vehicles to estimate the real number of vehicle fleet driven on the polish roads. Motor Transport Institute using its own methodology (MTI methodology) estimated the number of vehicle fleet in Poland. For this analysis, only the number of passenger cars was important.
The MTI method of estimating the number of passenger cars in motion was based on the elimination from total passenger vehicle fleet in databases of the Central Register of Vehicles all vehicles that were not updated during more than past twenty years. The fact that the vehicle has insurance indicated its potential use; therefore, the information on the validity of insurance of vehicles registered in Poland was used to estimate the number of used vehicles. Hence, we assumed that passenger cars in motion have valid insurance and if doesn’t have updated insurance it can be used up to twenty years.
It was assumed that vehicles operating in Poland:
- have valid insurance in the database of Central Register of Vehicles,
- all recorded vehicles in Central Register of Vehicles database with invalid insurance up to 20 year old (manufactured between 1995–2014 and 1996–2015 or 1995–2015),
- all recorded vehicles in Central Register of Vehicles that did not have any information about insurance, up to 20 year old (manufactured between 1995–2014 and 1996–2015 or 1995–2015).
There was presented for purpose of comparison the age structure of the passenger car fleet for both categories according to the CEP and MTI’ methodology. In Table 3, in the first column, complete data on outdated vehicles in the Central Register of Vehicles are given. In the second column, updated data of passenger cars, according to adopted assumptions, are provided. Each column of data is divided into different age groups, depending on the manufacturing year of a car.
The age structure of the passenger car fleet for both categories according to the Central Register for Vehicle and Motor Transport Institute’ methodology is presented below. Table 3 presents data for year 2014 and Table 4 data for 2015.
The comparison between the numbers of passenger car fleet in Poland indicates that in Poland in 2015 more than 20 million vehicles were registered, as per the records of CEP, but in real less than 15 million were driven. The comparison between the age structures of passenger car fleet indicates that the number of passenger cars aged 21 year old driven on the polish roads is much smaller than indicated on the records of CEP. This group of car has only 10% share in the age structure of all driven passenger cars (not 30% according to the CEP). Outdated records of CEP show the average age of passenger cars in Poland is more than 17 years. According to MTI estimation, the average age of polish passenger vehicle fleet is younger than official records and is estimated at less than 13 year old.
The impact of vehicle age on the possibility of an accident with fatalities is an important factor for the assessment of hazards on traffic safety. The data of Polish Road Safety Observatory (POBR) at Motor Transport Institute enabled us to assess the impact of age of a vehicle on road safety. The number of passenger cars driven in Poland updated using the MTI methodology showed figures and the age structure of passenger cars causing accidents with fatalities between 2014 and 2015 (Table 5). The passenger car fleet in motion has been analyzed and divided into five different age groups, the number of passenger cars involved in accidents with fatalities as well as the number of victims of these accidents (total fatalities and fatalities inside passenger vehicles, which meant deaths involving drivers and passengers).
There were 29 186.3 passenger cars driven between 2014 and 2015 on the polish road, out of which 5 508 vehicles were involved in accidents with fatalities. From those 5508 accidents, 2 320 passenger cars caused fatalities involving drivers and passengers. The rate of fatalities causing accident was higher in more than 20 year old passenger cars (13.4%) than those of other driven vehicles in Poland (9.9%), updated by the MTI methodology. The rate of fatalities in new (up to 5 year old) passenger cars was 10.6%, which was almost the same as the rate of passenger car fleet driven in Poland (10.3%). The highest rate of fatal accidents, total fatalities and fatalities inside the car, was for vehicles aged between 11 and 20 years. In Poland, 18 006.7 thousand cars (58.7% of total moving passenger car fleet) manufactured between 2005 and 1996 were being used in analyzed two year time. Passenger vehicles aged 11–20 years were most commonly involved in fatal accidents (64.2%). Analysis of age groups of passenger cars involved in accidents with fatalities indicated that cars aged 11–20 were mostly involved in a fatal accident. This age group of vehicles represented most passenger cars age in the fleet in Poland. There is proportion between the number of passenger cars causing fatalities and the number of passenger car fleet. The age group of vehicles aged more than 21 years indicated higher proportion of people killed in accidents. There were 2 892.2 passenger cars in Poland between 2014 and 2014 (9.9% of the updated vehicle fleet), out of which 740 were involved in accidents, in which people were killed on the road. According to the statistics from Table 5, due to the age group passenger cars causing fatalities per 100 000 passenger cars indicated age group of passenger cars aged 21 and more years had the higher value of total fatalities as well as inside the car. Generally, passenger car aged 21 years and more often caused fatalities. The most safe passenger cars are the newest one (up to 5 year old). The probability of accident involvement with fatalities is three times higher for the passenger cars of 21 years and more (indicator 15.6) than newest (indicator 4.9).
Due to the high number of old (more than 11 up to 20 year old) passenger cars in Poland, there is a high number of road accidents with fatalities.
The impact of vehicle age on the possibility of accident with fatalities is an important factor for the assessment of hazards on traffic safety. The data of Polish Road Safety Observatory (POBR) at Motor Transport Institute enabled to assess the impact of age of a vehicle on road safety. The number of passenger cars in motion in Poland updated by MTI methodology showed figures and age structure of passenger cars causing accidents with fatalities between 2014 and 2015 (Table 5)1. The passenger car fleet in motion has been analyzed and divided into five different age groups, the number of passenger cars involved in accidents with fatalities as well as the number of victims of these accidents (total fatalities and fatalities inside passenger vehicles, which meant deaths among drivers and passengers).
The number of fatalities caused by passenger cars between 2014 and 2015 is shown in Table 6 according to the age group of vehicles. From the number of 5 508 passenger cars involved in accidents, 4 980 were involved in fatalities, of which in 2 678 cases drivers and passengers were killed. Data analysis indicated that 60% of fatalities were caused by passenger cars aged more than 11 up to 20 years, the fleet of which was estimated to be moving on polish roads (61.7%) between 2014 and 2015 (according to the MTI methodology). Passenger cars manufactured between 2001 and 1995 caused 63% of all fatalities inside the vehicle, which meant 63% of drivers and passengers of those cars were killed. Among five analyzed age groups of passenger cars, the least fatalities among passengers and drivers were observed in new cars. As the vehicle age increases, the number of victims inside the vehicle increases as well. Hence, the risk of being killed during car accident increases with the age of a vehicle. The risk of being killed is three times higher in old vehicles than new ones. People involved in accidents with new vehicle up to 5 year old passenger cars have more chance to survive the accident than those involved with more than 21 year old cars.
Data analysis on the number of passenger vehicle fleet driven on polish roads and numbers of fatalities caused by this type of vehicles between 2014 and 2015 showed that the average age of passenger cars driven on polish roads is less than 13 years (not 17.5 years as shown by the records of Central Register of Vehicles). The number of vehicles in motion updated according to the Motor Transport Institute methodology showed 30% less fleet (mostly on cars more than 21-year-old) than in official Central Register of Vehicles. Updating the number of passenger cars fleet driven in Poland showed that:
more than 60% of passenger cars is between 11 and 20-year-old,
rate of oldest (more than 21 years old and more) vehicles of this type is very low, estimated to be 9.9% of all passenger cars,
rate of newest vehicle (up to 5-year-old cars) is also at low level, 10.3%.
The number of fatalities caused by passenger cars analyzed by the age of a vehicle indicated that:
life loss of driver and passenger in a car more than 21-year-old is three times higher than of the new cares of 5 years old cars.
Due to equipped active and passive devices and protective systems in new passenger cars, when the accident occurs, users have the best chance to survive. Hence, the lowest rate of killed drivers and passengers in a road accident is found in new cars of up to 5-year-old. The age of a passenger car has an influence on accidents with fatalities in Poland. The risk of being killed increase with the age of a vehicle. The longest used passenger cars in the country for more than 21 years have no great significant impact on road safety in Poland and a high number of killed people because of their small share in the passenger vehicle fleet.