Risk and type of crash among young drivers by rurality of residence: Findings from the DRIVE Study

H. Y. Chen, R. Q. Ivers, A. L.C. Martiniuk, S. Boufous, T. Senserrick, M. Woodward, M. Stevenson, A. Williamson, R. Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Most previous literature on urban/rural differences in road crashes has a primary focus on severe injuries or deaths, which may be largely explained by variations of medical resources. Little has been reported on police-reported crashes by geographical location, or crash type and severity, especially among young drivers. Methods: DRIVE is a prospective cohort study of 20,822 drivers aged 17-24 in NSW, Australia. Information on risk factors was collected via online questionnaire and subsequently linked to police-reported crashes. Poisson regression was used to analyse risk of various crash types by three levels of rurality of residence: urban, regional (country towns and surrounds) and rural. Results: Compared to urban drivers, risk of crash decreased with increasing rurality (regional adjusted RR: 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.9; rural adjusted RR: 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-0.7). Among those who crashed, risk of injurious crash did not differ by geographic location; however, regional and rural drivers had significantly higher risk of a single versus multiple vehicle crash (regional adjusted RR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.5; rural adjusted RR: 2.0, 95% CI 1.1-3.6), which was explained by speeding involvement and road alignment at the time or site of crash. Conclusions: Although young urban drivers have a higher crash risk overall, rural and regional residents have increased risk of a single vehicle crash. Interventions to reduce single vehicle crashes should aim to address key issues affecting such crashes, including speeding and specific aspects of road geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-682
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor vehicle crash
  • Rural/urban difference
  • The DRIVE Study
  • Young driver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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