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Publication Details

TitleAn examination of the environmental, driver and vehicle factors associated with the serious and fatal crashes of older rural drivers
AuthorsThompson JP, Baldock MRJ, Mathias JL, Wundersitz LN
TypeJournal Article
AbstractMotor vehicle crashes involving rural drivers aged 75 years and over 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 crashes (20042008) to identify the environmental (lighting, road and weather conditions, road layout, road surface, speed limit), driver (driver error, crash type), and vehicle (vehicle age) factors that are associated with the crashes of older rural drivers. It also determined whether these same factors are associated with an increased likelihood of serious or fatal injury in younger drivers for whom frailty does not contribute to the resulting injury severity. A number of environmental (i.e., undivided, unsealed, curved and inclined roads, and areas with a speed limit of 100 km/h or greater) and driver (i.e., collision with a fixed object and rolling over) factors were more frequent in the crashes of older rural drivers and additionally associated with increased injury severity in younger drivers. Moreover, when these environmental factors were entered into a logistic regression model to predict whether older drivers who were involved in crashes did or did not sustain a serious or fatal injury, it was found that each factor independently increased the likelihood of a serious or fatal injury. Changes, such as the provision of divided and sealed roads, greater protection from fixed roadside objects, and reduced speed limits, 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.


* We examine the factors involved in the crashes of rural and urban older drivers. * Those factors more common for rural older drivers lead to higher injury severity. * Logistic regression was used to predict serious and fatal injury to older drivers. * Several environmental factors independently predicted serious and fatal injury. * Means to make the rural driving environment safer for older drivers are indicated.

Journal TitleAccident Analysis & Prevention
Journal Volume (Issue)50
Page Range768-775
Page Count8

Thompson JP, Baldock MRJ, Mathias JL, Wundersitz LN (2013) 'An examination of the environmental, driver and vehicle factors associated with the serious and fatal crashes of older rural drivers', Accident Analysis & Prevention, 50, pp 768-775.