Risky youth to risky adults: Sustained increased risk of crash in the DRIVE study 13 years on

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Preventive Medicine


The objective of this study was to investigate if drivers who exhibit risky driving behaviours during youth (aged 17–24 years) have an increased risk of car crash up to 13 years later. We used data from the DRIVE study, a 2003/04 survey of 20,806 young novice drivers in New South Wales, Australia. The data were linked with police crash, hospital and deaths data up to 2016. We analysed differences in crash associated with 13 items of risky driving behaviours using negative binominal regression models adjusted for driver demographics, driving exposure and known crash risk factors. The items were summarised in one index and grouped into quintiles for the analysis. After adjusting for confounding, drivers of the third (RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.05–1.30), fourth (RR1.22, 95% CI1.09–1.36) and fifth quintile (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.21–1.53) had higher crash rates compared to the lowest risk-takers. Drivers with the highest scores on the risky driving measure had higher rates of crash related hospital admission or death (RR 1.92, 95% CI 1.13–3.27), crashes in wet conditions (RR 1.35,95% CI 1.05–1.73), crashes in darkness (RR 1.55, 95% CI 1.25–1.93) and head-on crashes (RR 2.14, 95% CI 1.07–4.28), compared with drivers with the lowest scores. Novice adolescent drivers who reported high levels of risky driving when they first obtained a driver licence remained at increased risk of crash well into adulthood. Measures that successfully reduce early risky driving, have the potential to substantially reduce road crashes and transport related injuries and deaths over the lifespan.

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National Health and Medical Research Council



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