How do car crashes happen among young drivers aged 18-20 years? Typical circumstances in relation to license status, alcohol impairment and injury consequences

Accid Anal Prev. 2009 Jul;41(4):734-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.03.012. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


Aim: The study aims to clarify the most typical circumstances in which car crashes involving young drivers and leading to the occurrence of injuries and to consider the various licensing statuses of the drivers in such crashes.

Method: Young Swedish drivers born between 1984 and 1986 were followed up in the Police register (2003-2004) for their involvement in car crashes as drivers (n=2448). A set of five variables (25 categories) descriptive of those crashes was analyzed simultaneously by means of cluster analysis. Associations between crash clusters and licensing status (including none), licensing duration and alcohol involvement were also measured.

Results: Five clusters were identified, typical of one or some specific crash type(s): single-vehicle in sparsely populated areas, front-on collisions, crashes at dawn or at dusk, turning, cars of later model, crashes in urban areas and speed limits below 50 km/h. Clusters differ in consequences and in the proportions of alcohol impaired drivers involved but not regarding proportions of novice drivers. Unlicensed drivers were found in excess in some clusters (especially single and night time crashes).

Conclusion: Young drivers are involved in crashes leading to injuries in rather specific circumstances. For some of them, novice drivers or even unlicensed drivers are over-represented, which points to the need for targeted counter-measures, alongside those general ones already in place.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult