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Looking Backward, Thinking Backward: Hindsight Judgment of Human Error in Transportation Accidents - Part II 18 th National Conference on Rural Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Looking Backward, Thinking Backward: Hindsight Judgment of Human Error in Transportation Accidents - Part II 18 th National Conference on Rural Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Looking Backward, Thinking Backward: Hindsight Judgment of Human Error in Transportation Accidents - Part II 18 th National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation October 20, 2008

2 John Goebelbecker, P.E. Partner of Foresight reconstruction, Inc. Morton Grove, IL Partner of Foresight reconstruction, Inc. Morton Grove, IL Master of Science in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame Master of Science in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame Consultant in Vehicle Accident Reconstruction Consultant in Vehicle Accident Reconstruction

3 What is “hindsight bias”? What is “hindsight bias”? How does it relate to reconstruction of crashes? How does it relate to reconstruction of crashes? Case studies for discussion. Case studies for discussion.

4 Hindsight Bias Your definition. Your definition. The tendency for post-crash observers to falsely believe that the once-future incident was more foreseeable for those involved than actually was the case. The tendency for post-crash observers to falsely believe that the once-future incident was more foreseeable for those involved than actually was the case. “Those who know how things turned out have trouble believing others didn’t see what was coming.” Fischhoff, 1975 “Those who know how things turned out have trouble believing others didn’t see what was coming.” Fischhoff, 1975

5 Recognizing Hindsight Bias Post-crash data set vs. Pre-crash data set Post-crash data set vs. Pre-crash data set Counterfactuals (hypotheticals) Counterfactuals (hypotheticals) Conditions vs. Causes Conditions vs. Causes

6 Pre-Crash v. Post-Crash Data 3 seconds Driver Point of View Unlimited time Detached observer view Limited information Multiple Demands Voluminous information Singular focus Routine Traffic Ambiguous Precursors Dangerous Emergency Precursors Certain One response Counterfactuals

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8 Officer Mullen of Chicago’s MAI Team responds to a 911 call and learns the following….

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10 John was driving his teenage daughter, Brigit, and trusted friend, Caera, to a soccer game when … John was driving his teenage daughter, Brigit, and trusted friend, Caera, to a soccer game when …

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13 Brigit’s Perspective Brigit saw the squirrel from ½ block away and saw it looking across the street at a corn cob feeder. Brigit saw the squirrel from ½ block away and saw it looking across the street at a corn cob feeder. Squirrel ran out from right to left. Squirrel ran out from right to left. John swerved left. John swerved left. John should have reacted sooner. John should have reacted sooner. John should have braked. John should have braked. John’s fault. John’s fault.

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15 Caera’s Perspective Squirrel had it coming to him. Squirrel had it coming to him. Squirrel not in cross walk. Squirrel not in cross walk. John had no time to react. John had no time to react. John did everything he could to avoid. John did everything he could to avoid. Squirrel’s fault. Squirrel’s fault.

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17 John’s Recollection Driving 15 mph (Had just looked down at the speedometer.) Driving 15 mph (Had just looked down at the speedometer.) Saw the squirrel when it had just stepped onto road from neighbor’s yard on right. Saw the squirrel when it had just stepped onto road from neighbor’s yard on right. Moving right to left. Moving right to left. Squirrel not looking for approaching traffic. Squirrel not looking for approaching traffic. Swerved left to avoid. Swerved left to avoid.

18 MAI Report 10 feet lane width 10 feet lane width Right front tire ran over tail. Right front tire ran over tail. Car traveling 17 mph (from electronic data recorder) Car traveling 17 mph (from electronic data recorder) Typical squirrel runs at 10 fps and can change direction in.5 s. Typical squirrel runs at 10 fps and can change direction in.5 s. Kinematic analysis reveals the following: Kinematic analysis reveals the following:

19 Continue Across StopReverse Flee Down Road Steer Left ConflictMissMissMiss StraightMiss?MissMiss Steer Right MissMissMissMiss Steer Left and Brake MissMissMissMiss Straight and Brake MissMissMissMiss Steer Right and Brake MissMissMissMiss Outcome Matrix

20 Hindsight Reconstruction Conflict could have been avoided had driver reacted differently. Conflict could have been avoided had driver reacted differently. Conflict could have been avoided had the driver reduced speed and paid closer attention to squirrel before emergency. Conflict could have been avoided had the driver reduced speed and paid closer attention to squirrel before emergency. But for the driver’s conduct, the squirrel lives to see another spring. But for the driver’s conduct, the squirrel lives to see another spring.

21 Foresight Reconstruction Driver had multiple attentional demands prior to crash. Driver had multiple attentional demands prior to crash. Driver was acting reasonably prior to crash. Driver was acting reasonably prior to crash. Movements of the squirrel were uncertain. Movements of the squirrel were uncertain. Time to perceive and react was short. Time to perceive and react was short. Response to left is natural. Response to left is natural.

22 Officer’s Conclusions John did not maintain proper lookout. John did not maintain proper lookout. John should have sounded horn. John should have sounded horn. If John reacted 1/2 s sooner, squirrel would not have been struck. If John reacted 1/2 s sooner, squirrel would not have been struck. John’s response to steer left was improper. (Never cross centerline!) John’s response to steer left was improper. (Never cross centerline!)

23 Behavior Judged by Outcome Caera satisfied with John’s response (good outcome). Caera satisfied with John’s response (good outcome). Brigit critical of John’s response (typical teenager’s view of parent). Brigit critical of John’s response (typical teenager’s view of parent). Neither should judge John’s response by outcome. Neither should judge John’s response by outcome.

24 Standard for Driver’s Conduct “The actor’s conduct must be judged in the light of the possibilities apparent to him at the time and not by looking backward ‘with wisdom born of the event’” “The actor’s conduct must be judged in the light of the possibilities apparent to him at the time and not by looking backward ‘with wisdom born of the event’” Driver must act with “ordinary care” – “the care a reasonably careful or prudent person would use under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.” Driver must act with “ordinary care” – “the care a reasonably careful or prudent person would use under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.”

25 A person faced with an emergency and who acts without opportunity to consider the alternatives is not negligent if he acts as a reasonably prudent person would act in the same emergency, even if it later appears that he did not make the safest choice or exercise the best judgment. (New York Emergency Doctrine) A person faced with an emergency and who acts without opportunity to consider the alternatives is not negligent if he acts as a reasonably prudent person would act in the same emergency, even if it later appears that he did not make the safest choice or exercise the best judgment. (New York Emergency Doctrine)

26 Your Opinions? Where can hindsight bias influence causal analysis? Where can hindsight bias influence causal analysis? Does the homeowner who feeds the squirrels share some responsibility? Does the homeowner who feeds the squirrels share some responsibility? Does the city share some responsibility? Does the city share some responsibility? Does Brigit share some responsibility? Does Brigit share some responsibility?

27 Other Fact Patterns John never saw the squirrel and did not stop until Brigit screamed. John never saw the squirrel and did not stop until Brigit screamed. Squirrel was sitting in roadway eating acorns. Squirrel was sitting in roadway eating acorns.

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