EMF Health-effects Research

Distractions and the risk of car crash injury: the effect of drivers' age.

Lam LT

J Safety Res 33(3):411-419, 2002

PROBLEM: Motor-vehicle accidents are one of the major causes of injury in most motorized countries. Driver distractions have been suggested as a contributor to traffic accidents. Moreover, age of the driver seems to have a role in the relationship between distractions and car crashes. But very few studies have investigated the effect of driver's age on this relationship. This exploratory study investigated the association between distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle, and the increased risk of car crash injury among drivers across different ages.

METHOD: This study used a case series design to analyze data routinely collected by the NSW police in Australia. A special focus of this study was on how drivers' age affects the risk of car crash injury, which was determined by using a well-documented risk estimation methodology.

RESULTS: The results obtained indicated that drivers of all ages, on the whole, are more susceptible to distractions inside the vehicle than distractions coming from outside. Age was shown to affect the relationship between in-vehicle distraction and the risk of car crash injury. A separate analysis was also conducted on hand-held phone usage while driving with results supplementing previous findings reported in the literature.

IMPACT TO INDUSTRY: Safety strategies to countermeasure in-vehicle distractions have been suggested and discussed.

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