Federal Highway Research Institute


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Accident research – GIDAS

On scene accident research is an important element for the improvement of vehicle and traffic safety. The complexity of an accident can only be fully represented by in-depth recording and analysis of traffic accidents. Advanced simulation techniques or crash-tests alone, cannot cover this multitude.

The figure shows the logo of GIDAS

The German In-Depth Accident Study (GIDAS) is a joint venture between BASt and the Automotive Research Association (FAT). GIDAS is the largest in-depth accident study project in Germany and it was initiated in July 1999. GIDAS is based on the many years of successful work of the BASt- founded investigation team of the Medical University of Hannover, in cooperation with a new investigation team of the Technical University Dresden.

The photo shows the documentation of accidents by the Medical University of Hannover In the framework of the GIDAS project, accidents are documented directly on the scene. (Photo: Medical University of Hannover, Traffic Accident Research)

Approximately 2,000 accidents involving personal injury are recorded in the area of Dresden and Hannover annually. The investigation team documents all relevant information on vehicle equipment, vehicle damage, injuries of persons involved, the rescue chain, as well as the accident conditions, at the scene. Individual interviews of persons involved are followed by detailed surveying of the accident scene based on existing evidence. In addition to documentation at the scene of the accident, all information available retrospectively is collected in close collaboration with police, hospitals and rescue services. Each documented accident is reconstructed in a simulation program. The entire course of the accident is reconstructed, starting with accident lead-in phase and the reaction of the involved vehicles, to the collision and finally vehicle end position. Characteristic variables such as braking deceleration, starting speeds and collision speed, as well as angle-changes are determined. The documentation scope obtained in GIDAS reaches up to 3,000 encoded parameters per accident.

Basis for new vehicle concepts and legislation

GIDAS provides the automotive and supplier industry with important information for the optimisation of vehicle safety and at the same time forms the basis for future ideas and concepts in research and development. On the basis of accident data, comparisons between reality and collision tests are carried out and vehicle structures with high risk of injury are detected early.

Analyses for legislators provide the opportunity of observing accidents in-depth and to identify negative developments. In the past, accident investigators' research has impacted on legislation and guidelines, which to date has saved the lives of many. Special notice should be given to the studies on the efficiency of safety belts, the necessity of the safety helmets for cyclists, and the optimisation of modern vehicles for pedestrian safety.

Infrastructure improvements

The GIDAS-data provide important information for traffic planning and the optimisation of road construction and transport infrastructure. In addition, the level of safety of various road and intersection types can be evaluated.

For rescue services, the data provides important information on cause of injuries and emergency diagnostics at the scene of accident, which can reveal areas of improvement for emergency treatment and patient transport.

Additionally, GIDAS provides a basis for traffic psychological studies which focus on perception, cognition and attention while driving, willingness to take risks and driving motivation, interaction and the social psychology of driving.