By Lynette Shaw
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Extra info for Accident Proneness. Research in the Occurrence, Causation, and Prevention of Road Accidents
Viteles. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher. , is of extremely great interest and importance. However, such facts are insufficient, in themselves, in helping one who has already become involved in an accident and in preventing further accidents on his part. The statistical approach limits itself to the accumulation of facts, but provides no procedure for applying these facts in the further study and adjustment of the individual worker. "The function of the statistical approach and of statistical investigations in preventing accidents attributable to the human factor may be described as that of investigating group tendencies.
Yet, despite the fact that in the groups of people chosen for testing the highest correlation obtained was 0-44, and in most cases ranged between 0-18 and 0-33, Farmer and Chambers proceeded to carry out a series of extensive testing programmes, using all sorts of workers from dock workers to bus drivers, and applying all sorts of tests from paper-and-pencil intelligence tests to what they described as "aesthetokinetic" tests, namely instrumented tests like a dotting test, a reaction time test, and a pursuit meter.
These investigators did everything possible to obtain homogeneous exposure; they investigated a number of other factors which could be creating inequalities of risk and showed that even when these factors were controlled, significant evidence of individual differences in accident liability still existed. They never restricted their investigations to only one period; they correlated the accidents of successive periods and the positive coefficients obtained were highly significant (significant coefficients which are seldom mentioned in the more recent "potted" histories)—in fact they went to a great deal of trouble to check their premises.