Young drivers and their passengers: A systematic review of epidemiological studies on crash risk

Marie Claude Ouimet, Anuj K. Pradhan, Ashley Brooks-Russell, Johnathon P. Ehsani, Djamal Berbiche, Bruce G. Simons-Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose A systematic review of the literature was conducted to appraise the evidence from epidemiological studies of crash risk in young drivers accompanied by passengers, compared with solo driving. Methods Databases searched were the Cochrane Library, Embase, Scopus, Transportation Research Information Services, and Web of Science for studies published between January 1, 1989 and August 1, 2013. Epidemiological studies were selected for review if they focused on crashes of young drivers (≤24 years old) and included both a no-passenger comparison group and some measure of exposure to enable calculation of estimates. Results Fifteen articles (17 studies) were selected; seven studies reported on fatal crashes and 10 on nonfatal or combined fatal/nonfatal crashes. Studies on fatal crashes showed increased risk, compared with solo driving, for young drivers with at least one passenger (significant estimates ranging from 1.24 to 1.89) and two or more passengers versus solo driving (1.70-2.92). Increased risk was also found for fatal crashes and for combined or nonfatal crashes with male versus female passengers (1.53-2.66) and for younger versus older drivers (1.42-3.14). Conclusions Results more clearly indicated an increased risk for passenger presence in fatal crashes than that in nonfatal or combined fatal/nonfatal crashes. Findings of this review, based on correlational studies, support licensing policies that limit the presence and number of young passengers for young drivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s24-S35.e6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Driver
  • Passenger
  • Systematic review
  • Traffic accident
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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