Trends in Socioeconomic Inequalities in Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths in the United States, 1995-2010

Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Oct 1;182(7):606-14. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv099. Epub 2015 Sep 8.


Motor vehicle accident (MVA) mortality has been declining overall, but little is known about trends by socioeconomic position. We examined trends in education-related inequalities in US MVA death rates from 1995 to 2010. We used mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics and population estimates from the Current Population Survey, and we calculated vehicle- and person-miles traveled using data from the National Household Travel Survey. We used negative binomial regression to estimate crude and age-, sex-, and race-adjusted mortality rates among adults aged 25 years or more. We found larger mortality decreases among the more highly educated and some evidence of mortality increases among the least educated. Adjusted death rates were 15.3 per 100,000 population (95% confidence interval (CI): 10.7, 19.9) higher at the bottom of the education distribution than at the top of the education distribution in 1995, increasing to 17.9 per 100,000 population (95% CI: 14.8, 21.0) by 2010. In relative terms, adjusted death rates were 2.4 (95% CI: 1.7, 3.0) times higher at the bottom of the education distribution than at the top in 1995, increasing to 4.3 times higher (95% CI: 3.4, 5.3) by 2010. Inequality increases were larger in terms of vehicle-miles traveled. Although overall MVA death rates declined during this period, socioeconomic differences in MVA mortality have persisted or worsened over time.

Keywords: health inequalities; mortality; motor vehicle accidents; socioeconomic position; trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States