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Publication Details

TitleConditions and characteristics of serious and fatal crashes involving older rural drivers
AuthorsThompson JP, Baldock MRJ, Mathias JL, Wundersitz LN
Year2011
TypeConference Paper
AbstractMotor vehicle crashes involving rural drivers aged ≥ 75 years are more than twice as likely to result in a serious or fatal injury as those involving their urban counterparts. The current study examined some of the reasons for this using a database of police-reported road crashes (2004 - 2008) to determine the conditions (road, light, weather) and characteristics (driver error, crash type, vehicle age, road layout, road surface, speed limit) that are more likely to be associated with the crashes of older rural drivers. It also examined whether these conditions and characteristics are associated with an increased likelihood of serious or fatal injury in younger drivers for whom frailty is not a contributing factor. A number of characteristics were more frequently associated with the crashes of older rural drivers and increased injury severity in younger drivers; these being crashes that involved hitting a fixed object and rolling over, as well as crashes on undivided, unsealed, curved and inclined roads, and in areas with a speed limit of 100km/h or greater. Moreover, a crash that occurred on a road with a speed limit of 100km/h or more was seven times more likely to lead to serious or fatal injury in drivers aged ≥ 75 years. Even when speed limit was statistically controlled, crashes that involved hitting a fixed object and rolling over, and crashes that occurred on undivided, unsealed and curved roads all independently increased the risk of a serious injury in older drivers. Changes, such as reduced speed limits, greater protection of fixed roadside objects, and the provision of divided and sealed roads, appear to be indicated in order to improve the safety of the rural driving environment for drivers of all ages. Additionally, older rural drivers should be encouraged to reduce their exposure to these risky circumstances.
Conference NameEmerging issues in safe and sustainable mobility for older people
Conference LocationWashington DC, USA
Conference Date30 August - 1 September 2011

Reference
Thompson JP, Baldock MRJ, Mathias JL, Wundersitz LN (2011) 'Conditions and characteristics of serious and fatal crashes involving older rural drivers', Emerging issues in safe and sustainable mobility for older people, Washington DC, USA, 30 August - 1 September 2011.