Leading Australian universities and road safety partnership programs (supported by state road transport authorities such as VicRoads) have conducted multiple studies of road crashes to understand the leading causes and severity of the crashes.

Throughout the studies, it has become clear that the severity of road crashes is higher when it involves a high-impact or rollover.

What is a High-Impact and Rollover (HIR) event?

  • High-Impact: when a vehicle crashes into an immobile object such as a tree.
  • Rollover: when a vehicle has rolled onto its side or roof.

Understanding HIR causes

Studies such as those by the Centre for Automated Safety Research (page 9), have made it possible to pinpoint the leading causes of these accidents – with rollovers being far more common in serious traffic accidents and likely to cause serious injury or death. In single-vehicle rollovers, the most common recorded causes are (in order from most common, to least common):

  1. Rollover involving driver inattention
  2. Rollover due to alcohol or drugs
  3. Rollover due to vehicle fault, i.e. worn out or faulty brakes
  4. Rollover involving inappropriate speed
  5. Rollover involving driver fatigue
  6. Rollover involving dangerous driving

Fleet managers and health & safety managers can now implement fleet safety measures reduce the risk of these crashes happening and be notified immediately in the event of a high-impact or rollover crash.

Why you need a HIR detection system and how it works

In an HIR crash, the driver and passengers are likely to be injured, rendered unconscious or immobilised. The best way to ensure that managers know about such crashes is to install a vehicle tracker such as Smartrak’s Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL), which is securely fitted in the vehicle.

The AVLs monitor for HIR events by monitoring the accelerometer in the AVL, checking for two forms of adverse events:

  1. Impact Detection – monitors the front, back and side for sudden large changes in accelerations.
  2. Rollover at Rest – detects when a vehicle is no longer upright (rolling over and coming to rest on its side or roof)

The feature is intended to detect and report on adverse events that involve vehicle collisions and rollover of such severity that the driver is unable to press an emergency dash switch or use a 2-way radio or mobile phone to call for help. It is not intended to detect all types of collisions, particularly low-speed impacts, e.g. ‘fender-benders’.

What does the HIR feature do?

When a HIR event is registered through the AVL, an alert is sent directly from the AVL installed in the vehicle to the EyeQ Visual Intelligence Suite. Department managers, team leaders and third-party security monitoring centres have access via the EyeQ platform, where the HIR alert will appear. They can also receive SMS and Email HIR alerts.

The HIR event provides the date and time, vehicle details, vehicle GPS location and driver identification (if the vehicle has a driver ID system). This critical information helps the organisation deploy its emergency escalation process and/or helps emergency services get to the crash site to assist the driver or passengers.

Other ways to reduce the risk of HIR crashes

The high-impact and rollover feature is not an infallible tool and should be used in conjunction with other fleet safety methods to proactive protect workers.

  • Introduce a Telematics system to ensure that drivers are always alert, particularly if they overspeed, depart from lanes, forget to rest or are about to have a front collision. Management can also report on driver behaviour and identify unsafe drivers, taking preventative driver training measures to minimise the risk of a HIR crash.
  • Improve fleet vehicle servicing to ensure that brakes and tyres and other mechanical components are always safe and roadworthy, reducing the risk of an accident.
  • Improve fatigue management practices, via monitoring vehicle activity to identify possible risks of fatigue. By reviewing the duration of trips, drivers found to be travelling for more than a few hours may need guidance or education on how to best plan their day and trips to include regular breaks.

How will this benefit the organisation?

Organisations and managers benefit from having the HIR feature and the other ways to reduce the risk of a HIR crash. It reduces the risk of serious injury or death of employees and supplements the current health & safety practices to help organisations comply with their duty of care obligations.

The HIR feature can be implemented with Smartrak’s TrakWise AVL hardware. Contact Smartrak today, to find out more about our HIR solution.