Yellow taxis are safer than blue ones, scientists say

New study shows strong link between car colour and accident rate

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The Independent Online

If you want to avoid being injured in a car accident you should take a yellow taxi rather than a blue one, scientists have said. 

A study by researchers in Singapore found yellow vehicles were 9 per cent less likely to be involved in crashes than their blue equivalents, and were involved in six fewer crashes per thousand taxis.

It is thought the bright colour increases the car’s visibility, making it easier for other drivers to see and avoid it. That theory is supported by the fact yellow cars were even more safe than blue ones in low lighting conditions, such as under street lights.

Scientists tracked 4,175 yellow taxis and 12,525 blue ones from the same company in Singapore. They used speed data to rule out the impact of other factors such as driving speed or number of stops.

Converting the whole taxi fleet to yellow vehicles could save $1.4 million (£1.2 million) a year by reducing crashes, the study concluded. 

It is among the only studies to have demonstrated such a clear link between vehicle colour and accidents. 

"Although there is anecdotal evidence on higher accident rates for dark-coloured vehicles, few studies have empirically established a strong causal link between colour and accident risk," said Professor Ho Teck Hua of the National University of Singapore, who led the research.

"The findings of our study suggest that colour visibility should play a major role in determining the colours used for public transport vehicles. A commercial decision to change all taxis to yellow may save lives and potentially reduce economic losses by millions of dollars."

Several previous studies have suggested some link between vehicle colour and accident risk. A 2003 project in New Zealand found people were more likely to be injured in a brown car than a white one, while a Spanish study also concluded that dark-coloured cars were the most dangerous.

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