Car crash and injury among young drivers: contribution of social, circumstantial and car attributes

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2007 Mar;14(1):5-10. doi: 10.1080/17457300601119031.


The objective of the study was to assess the independent contribution of individual, car and circumstantial features in severe and fatal car crashes involving young drivers. A prospective longitudinal, register-based cohort study was conducted at national level (in Sweden), in which people born in the years 1970-1972 (n = 334070) were followed up for the period 1988-2000 (aged 16-18 years in 1988) for their first two-car crashes leading to severe or fatal injury. Ten variables descriptive of the driver (sociodemographics), the car (safety level) and the crash have been analysed using multiple logistic regressions for male and female drivers separately, compiling crude and adjusted odds ratios with 95% CI. When controlling for other features, none of the variables descriptive of male and female drivers' socio-demographic characteristics impacts significantly on the odds of being severely injured or dying in a car-to-car crash. After adjustment, significant excess risks are observed for speed limits higher than the lowest one, type of crash other than rear end collision and road and light conditions other than favourable (dry and daylight), for both male and female drivers. For males only, cars from all car safety levels have significantly higher odds than those from the safest category. Among male and female young drivers, class differences in the risk of being severely injured in a traffic injury are substantial. Yet, despite this imbalance, crash characteristics (for males and females) and safety level of the vehicle driven (for males) remain the most determinant factors of crash severity. Understanding the social patterning of road traffic injuries is a challenge for public health and it seems that qualitative and quantitative differences in crash exposure offer part of the explanation. Young drivers from all social groups need, however, to be sensitized to the risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Automobiles*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*