Acciphilia on the road: An analysis of severe collisions

Roni Factor*, Gad Yair, David Mahalel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although prior studies of road traffic accidents have found between-group differences in risk, little attention has been given to the encounter between drivers involved in severe collisions. Method: The present study empirically evaluates two different possible causes of "social accidents," which are defined as collisions between two or more drivers where some faulty social interaction might be assumed, and which are the most prevalent cause of road injuries. The analyses use merged Israeli collision records from 1983 to 2004 with data from two national censuses, thus providing an unprecedented empirical basis to study the social foundations of car accidents. The data are used to adjudicate between two alternative hypotheses: the heterogeneity hypothesis (socially different drivers tend to collide) versus the homogeneity hypothesis (socially similar drivers tend to collide). Results: Multivariate analyses provide preliminary support for the latter hypothesis. Given an accident, there are more collisions among drivers from the same broad educational group, and the factors that influence this correlation are independent of geography. The paper thus leads to the idea that severe collisions reflect a sociological or ecological process that is akin to acciphilia. Impact on Industry: The preliminary findings suggest that variation between drivers may be preferable to similarity, since apparently there is a greater tendency toward collisions between similar drivers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support of the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology and the Israel National Road Safety Authority, and the Ran Naor Foundation for Advancing Road Safety Research. We enjoyed the support of the Takemi Program in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.


  • Cultural influence
  • Public health
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Social factors
  • Socioeconomic characteristics


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