Board’s visit of Prof. Dr. Hannawald (VUFO GmbH) in Dresden
Germany has for decades been an international pioneer in the recording and evaluation of accident data. Information on accident rates and types are therefore published every year by the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden and can be viewed free of charge on the Internet.
However, the major drawback with this data is the fact that it is not very detailed and therefore also does not permit any conclusions to be drawn about the causes of the accidents. The GIDAS project was founded in 1999, which is managed by of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BaSt) as well as the Automobile Technology Research Association (FAT), in order to solve this problem. GIDAS stands for German In-Depth Accident Study. All empirical surveys and analysis work are carried out here by the Medical University of Hanover as well as by traffic accident research organisation at the Dresden University of Technology (VUFO GmbH), which record accidents at random - but only those involving personal injuries - from their respective geographical areas.
The aim of the GIDAS database, which is constantly increasing in size thanks to these surveys, is not least to obtain information on which factors have caused or affected the accident in question, and to make statements about the causes of accidents throughout the Federal Republic by means of dependable projections. Almost 30,000 accidents have therefore been recorded since 1999.
On Monday, October 17, 2016, the first chairman of the TIV, Michael Jursch, and his deputy, Dr. Uwe Meyer, visited the CEO of VUFO GmbH, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lars Hannawald, who is also Chair of Vehicle Safety / Accident Analysis at the Dresden University of Technology and Economics (HTW).
The main task of the TIV board members was to discuss the possibilities and conditions for the use of the GIDAS database. This is due to the fact it could provide the association with valuable lines of argument both at a national and European level, for instance in relation to the further development of the current driving licence law or also the hoped-for new statutory regulation relating to the insurance obligation for trailers. Moreover, the GIDAS data may also provide trailer manufacturers and suppliers with ideas for the improvement of their products in the interests of all transport users.
A first insight into the GIDAS data in the context of the Dresden meeting demonstrates that of the approximately 30,000 accidents examined, only about 200 involved a car trailer at all. In the specific examples selected by Prof. Hannawald, the trailer also did not cause the accident. Instead, the accident would also have occurred if no trailer had been connected to the towing vehicle.
In the course of the visit that lasted a good three hours, Prof. Hannawald also guided Mr. Jursch and Dr. Meyer through the laboratories and the HTW test stands, whilst also presenting some of his colleagues. One of them, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Wittmer, Chair of Vehicle Construction / Commercial Vehicle Technology, offered to carry out trailer or supplier sub-tests for interested members of the association within diploma theses or in-house research projects.
The TIV Executive Board is now awaiting an offer from VUFO GmbH on a needs-based evaluation and use of the GIDAS data.