• The aim of this thesis research was to find ways to improve safety in the heavy vehicle transport industry through the development of an evidence-based safety management system. 

    The research was undertaken considering disproportionate crash and injury risks associated with the heavy vehicle transport industry in comparison with other industries and other road users. The nature of the trucking industry presents some unique challenges for safety management at an organisational level. 

    This thesis argues that a systems approach with evidence-based safety management elements can be developed into an intervention program that is likely to improve safety outcomes in the heavy vehicle transport sector.

    Study one

    Drawing from the knowledge from prior occupational safety and road safety research, a study of safety management characteristics comparing those in good safety performing heavy vehicle operators and poor safety performers, sought to synthesise the distinguishing features between them. 

    Study two and three

    Two empirical studies were conducted, and the findings of these studies provided the basis upon which to build a safety management system (SMS) suitable for heavy transport vehicle operations. This process resulted in the identification of 14 safety management characteristics that have strong research evidence for inclusion in a SMS for heavy truck operations. 

    These findings, together with the analysis of sound theoretical models to underpin the SMS, were used to shape the SMS. The SMS features three spheres of management practices risk assessment and management, driver risk management and safety culture management. 

    Drawing from the literature, a dynamic model of a SMS is presented and explained. The original aim of this thesis research has been met, providing an evidence-based SMS that is likely to reduce crash and injury risk when applied to heavy vehicle transport operations.

    Category: Road vehicles

    Researcher: Dr Lori Mooren

    Supervisor: Professor Ann Williamson

    Level: PhD

    Status: Completed

  • Passenger vehicle rollover crashes involving a single vehicle occur infrequently; however, when they do, the vehicle occupants in these crashes are more likely to sustain serious and fatal injuries compared to other crash modes. 

    The thorax is frequently seriously injured in rollover crashes. Ongoing efforts in the USA and Australia have sought to understand the characteristics and cause of these injuries. Despite these efforts, the characteristics and cause of thoracic injuries in rollover crashes are still not well understood. Four studies were performed and documented in this thesis to address identified knowledge gaps. 

    Study one

    Firstly, Flail-space's lateral thoracic impact velocity was validated against existing lateral PMHS thoracic impact tests. The validated velocity was then considered as an additional lateral thoracic injury criterion for assessing lateral thoracic injuries resulting from rollover crashes.

    Study two

    Secondly, thoracic injuries from real-world vehicle rollover crashes were examined based on occupant seated position and vehicle rollover direction. The results indicated that there is a difference in resultant thoracic injuries based on occupant seated position and rollover direction, which future studies need to consider. 

    Study three

    Thirdly, correlations between vehicle panel damage and serious thoracic injuries were investigated from real-world rollover crashes. The results indicated that there are associations between vehicle panel damage and serious thoracic injuries. 

    Study four

    Fourthly, a real-world rollover crash where the driver sustained serious thoracic injuries was analysed using computer simulations to study thoracic injury causes and its association with vehicle panel damage, as identified in the third study. Further, thoracic injuries were assessed against existing thoracic injury criteria and the lateral thoracic impact velocity criterion from the first study. 

    The findings indicated a low likelihood of the occupant sustaining a thoracic injury. However, the results indicated instances in the rollover sequence that need to be studied in further detail, highlighted the sensitivity of thoracic injuries to initial occupant position and indicated the need for introducing thoracic oblique loading sensitivity in future ATD designs.

    This thesis has provided a new lateral thoracic injury criterion and identified vehicle, occupant and environment characteristics which need to be considered for future thoracic injury causes in rollover crashes studies.

    Category: Road vehicles

    Researcher: Dr Tana Tan

    Supervisor: Professor Raphael Grzebieta

    Level: PhD

    Status: Completed