NSW residents say public should take danger of dark-colored cars more seriously

Date: Aug 19, 2013

A previously ignored 2007 study that highlighted the dangers of dark coloured cars has been brought back into the spotlight.

New South Wales (NSW) rural residents are among the most vocal about the potential problem of car accident injuries that are the result of dark cars. ABC recently spoke with Bill Hoolihan, a NSW farmer, who said he has first-hand experience with how dangerous black cars can be.

Mr Hoolihan stated that when he was driving through rural countryside, he veered into the path of a black car because it blended into the road. Since then, he's been on a personal crusade to spread the word that black cars riding on black roads can result in serious injuries.

But he isn't alone in his mission. The study Mr Hoolihan has been quoting is making a comeback in many safety organisation circles, with the researchers suggesting that several car accidents in Australia are not necessarily the fault of the driver. Instead, they could be influenced by the color of the vehicle.

A look at the data

The study was conducted by Monash University, where researchers analysed hundreds of thousands of accidents, and compared the type of cars involved, the colours of the vehicles, what time of day it occurred and how severe that accident was.

The experts uncovered a correlation stronger than they had anticipated.

"Results of the analysis identified a clear statistically significant relationship between vehicle colour and crash risk," the report authors wrote.

"Compared to white vehicles, a number of colours were associated with higher crash risk. These colours are generally those lower on the visibility index and include black, blue, grey, green, red and silver."

To Hoolihan, there is a clear solution to this problem. Considering white is already the most common colour used for drawing attention – think road markings, guide posts and safety vests – if more cars had more white on them, it could help others see them.

"If all vehicles had white front bumper bars (most have black) or a high visibility strip, many serious accidents could be avoided," he told ABC.

Even NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay agreed that dark cars are more commonly associated with accidents, however there is currently no government action to change this fact.
 

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