News from CREAL
A study published in the last volume of Environmental Health Perspectives and led by Xavier Basagaña, researcher from CREAL, an ISGlobal allied center, has estimated the impact of high ambient temperatures on the daily number of motor vehicle crashes and, in particular, on crashes involving driver performance factors, like distractions, driver error, fatigue, or sleepiness.
Motor vehicle crashes are an important cause of mortality and disability worldwide. Meteorological factors such as rain, snow, fog, wind, hail, and freezing temperatures are known to increase the risk of occurrence of motor vehicle crashes. The effect of heat on the risk of motor vehicle crashes, however, has received less attention. There is plausibility for such an association, as high temperatures are known to decrease human capability of performing physical and intellectual tasks.
According to the study, motor vehicle crashes involving driver performance–associated factors increased in association with heat waves and increasing temperature. These findings are relevant for designing preventive plans in a context of global warming.
Xavier Basagaña, Juan Pablo Escalera-Antezana, Payam Dadvand, Òscar Llatje, Jose Barrera-Gómez, Jordi Cunillera, Mercedes Medina-Ramón, and Katherine Pérez. High Ambient Temperatures and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crashes in Catalonia, Spain (2000–2011): A Time-Series Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 123. Number 12. December 2015