Effects of the Energy Crisis on Traffic Crashes in Virginia: Final Report

Report No: 77-R34

Published in 1977

About the report:

A number of energy crisis related factors were examined to determine if a change in energy crisis variables occurred during the 1973-74 shortage and if this change could be related to changes in the accident environment in Virginia. The variables examined in the study included mean speed, speed distribution, travel, vehicle mix, visibility (daylight saving time), occupancy rates, and other non-energy crisis factors such as restraint usage. Mean speeds were found to be related to accident severity while speed distributions were found to relate to accident causation. The relationship between travel and accident causation in Virginia was not found to be as strong as had been indicated in previous studies. Changes in vehicle mix supported the notion that an increased dispersion in vehicle size and age during the energy crisis would tend to worsen the accident environment. Reduced morning visibility due to the temporary use of daylight saving time did not increase fatalities, while changes in occupancy rates and restraint usage were too gradual to account for much of the reduction in accidents during the energy crisis.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Dean A. Swift, Cheryl W. Lynn

Last updated: January 28, 2024

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