The effects of age and experience on accidents with injuries: should the licensing age be raised?

Accid Anal Prev. 1992 Apr;24(2):107-16. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(92)90027-g.


In Canadian Provinces and in several states of the United States the minimal legal age to drive a motor vehicle is 16 years old and in some, it is 15. The excess mortality and morbidity registered by 15 to 24-year-old drivers is well known. Several studies have reported that accident rates decrease with experience, but the effect of the age of new drivers has not been well documented. The objective is to study injury accident rates in terms of the age and experience factors. The data sources are computer files of the Government Insurance Corporation (Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec), which covers all Quebec drivers. For each driver, the file contains birth date, sex, year and month of first license, involvement in accidents, and other parameters. The yearly rates (1970-1984) of new permits per age last birthday and sex show an increase over time, particularly for 16-year-old men. For the period 1979-1984, injury accident involvement rates were computed for all Quebec drivers by age, sex, and driving experience. An experienced driver has been defined as a person who has been licensed for at least one year. The results show, for experienced as well as inexperienced young men (16-18), a high injury accident rate that decreases with age. For women, the rates are much lower and decrease more gradually than for men. This study does not take into account the kilometers driven. Since young drivers (16-18) have the highest accident rates, the question of regulating access to first licensing for such drivers must be examined as a possible strategy for injury prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology