Human Factors is a broad scientific field of study pertaining to human interaction with technology and the environment. The study of human factors focuses on human capabilities, behavior and performance in a wide variety of situations.
In the context of traffic accident reconstruction analysis, the application of human factors is most commonly directed to the driver of a vehicle. In nearly every litigated traffic accident case, to some extent or another, human factors and driver performance is scrutinized. The issues and corresponding questions that arise are typically related to one or more of the following human factor elements: perception / reaction, visibility, sightlines, attention, distraction, alcohol & drugs, fatigue, traffic control devices, highway signage, vehicle ergonomics, roadway & environmental conditions, lighting, driver strategy and tactics.
A successful (perhaps defined as uneventful or not harmful) transportation experience for all is dependent on multiple drivers keeping the above list of human factors elements under a constant state of checks and balances. When a breakdown or lapse in human capability or performance occurs with respect to drivers managing these elements in concert, then the chances for an accident increases.
Part of any accident cause analysis or liability assessment incorporates a determination whether driver error and/or other human factors were significant contributing factors.