Socioeconomic background and road traffic injuries: a study of young car drivers in Sweden

Traffic Inj Prev. 2003 Sep;4(3):249-54. doi: 10.1080/15389580309882.


The aim of this study is to explore the manner in which different measures of original socioeconomic position (SEP) influence road traffic injuries (RTIs) among young car drivers in Sweden. The study consists of young people age 16-23. Subjects were taken from the Swedish Population and Housing Census of 1990 (n=727,995), and followed up by a search for cases of injury to car drivers in Sweden's National Hospital Discharge Register over the years 1991-96 (n=1,599). Household SEP was measured using social class, education, and disposable income. Relative risks were estimated by Poisson regression and population attributable risks were computed for each measure of SEP. Children of unskilled workers, of the self-employed, and of farmers, as well as children of parents with compulsory education only showed an increased risk of injury as car drivers compared to children in the highest socioeconomic group and children of highly educated parents. By contrast, level of household disposable income was found not to vary with RTI among young drivers. Twenty-five percent of the injuries could be avoided if all young people had the injury rate of the highest socioeconomic group, and 29% if all young people had the injury rate of those with highly educated parents. The reduction of risk differences based on household SEP calls for consideration of factors related to both differential exposure and differential susceptibility, which may be addressed in driver education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Sweden