Select Page

DON’T ALWAYS BLAME THE DRIVER

DON’T ALWAYS BLAME THE DRIVER

Often driver error is blamed for vehicle crashes. But, extensive studies by Prof (Dr) Michael Freeman, distinguished forensic epidemiologist and consultant in forensic medicine working in civil, criminal, and academic fields, show that the major reason for crash following tyre failure is vehicle instability and loss of control rather than any factors attributable to driver error or reaction. In this interview to Tyre Asia, he says tyre manufacturing defects are a particularly dangerous threat to public health and safety in motorised societies, relative to other vehicle defects. This is largely due to the fact that sudden failures, particularly due to separation of tread (delaminating), are most likely to occur when the vehicle is travelling at higher speeds, and also result in a sudden alteration of vehicle handling characteristics that greatly increases the risk of a crash occurring at speed

TA News Bureau

When manufacturers are held to account for poor quality or defective tyres in a court of law, they inevitably point to industry-sponsored research that places the blame for the crash on the driver of the vehicle rather than a change in vehicle stability caused by the tyre failure.

Research recently published by the Society of Automotive Engineers provides definitive evidence that crashes that occur after a tyre failure are indeed nearly always caused by the failure rather than driver-error or other factors unrelated to the tyre failure.

This is the highlight of extensive research and study by Prof (Dr) Michael Freeman, distinguished forensic epidemiologist and consultant in forensic medicine.

He is regularly called to provide expert testimony before courts. He has done so in more than 1,100 times in a wide variety of legal cases, including injury and death litigation, automotive and other product liability, toxic tort litigation, life expectancy, and medical negligence cases, as well as in homicide and other criminal matters.

He is a tenured professor of forensic medicine and epidemiology at Netherland’s Maastricht University Medical Center. He is also an affiliate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.

He also serves as an Affiliate Medical Examiner with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Prof. (Dr) Freeman is currently a Fulbright Fellow with the U.S. Department of State, in the area of forensic medicine.

He has examined an annual average of 11,000 tyre failure crashes occurring in the US over a 16-year period (2000-2015).

It is from this vast experience and research that he has noted that 1 in 270 of all crashes was due to a tyre failure. One in 4 (25%) of tyre failure crashes were rollovers (the most dangerous type of crash), versus only 1 in 14 (7%) for non-tyre failure crashes.

(Dr) Michael Freeman, a distinguished forensic epidemiologist and consultant in forensic medicine

Accident

Accident

Research revelation

Further, he has noted that vehicles with a higher centre of mass, such as SUVs and pickup trucks rolled over 3.2 times more often than sedans (49% versus 15%).

He says typical explanations for the crash, aside from the tyre failure, such as a collision with another vehicle, were present in only 9% of tyre failure crashes versus 73% of non tyre-failure crashes, leaving the tyre failure as the only explanation for nearly all of the crashes.

These results, which are from the largest study of tyre failure crashes ever published, demonstrate the danger of poor tyre manufacturing practices and the magnified risk of injury and death for trucks and SUVs when a tyre failure occurs.

The results also refute the claims by the industry that tyre failures that occur at speed do not increase the risk of a rollover crash.

Dr Freeman’s multiply-published 3-step approach to injury causation investigation has been adopted by US courts as the generally accepted methodology, as described in the 2016 10th circuit US DCA Etherton decision.

He has published research on the topics of traffic crash-related injury and death, injury biomechanics and injury causation, genocide, cancer epidemiology, chronic pain mechanisms, and adult antilogous stem cell therapy, among others.

He is the co-editor and co-author of the authoritative text on forensic applications of epidemiology Forensic Epidemiology: Principles and Practice, published in 2016.

He holds a doctor of medicine degree from Umeå University in Sweden and a Ph.D. and master’s degree in epidemiology from Oregon State University.

He has completed a 2-year fellowship in forensic pathology through Umeå University and the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner. He is also an ACTAR (Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction) -accredited traffic crash reconstructionist.

His research has given a unique perspective to traffic accidents and addresses various contentions on the cause of traffic crashes following a sudden tyre failure.

His study proves that rollover and other non-collision crashes are substantially more common among the tyre failure crashes than the non-tyre failure crashes.

He noted there was a 75% lower rate of adverse road or weather conditions in tyre failures compared to non-tyre failure crashes. Data shows that when a tyre failure crash occurs, an explanation other than the degree of driver error seen in non-tyre failure crashes is likely.

“The most readily apparent explanation is a sudden inability to control the vehicle at speed,” the research shows.

Driver reaction is an important variable in causing a crash after a tread separation. Dr Freeman asserts driver error alone is not a sufficient explanation for crash that follows tyre failure and this particularly true for rollover crashes.

“The most likely cause of a traffic crash that follows a tyre failure is the tyre failure as opposed to driver error,” he notes.

Blurbs
Research recently published by the Society of Automotive Engineers provides definitive evidence that crashes that occur after a tyre failure are indeed nearly always caused by the failure rather than driver-error or other factors unrelated to the tyre failure.

Research studies refute the claims by the industry that tyre failures that occur at speed do not increase the risk of a rollover crash.

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Issue

Newsletter Subscription

Recent Tweets

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!