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889 An analysis of car crashes fatalities involving young drivers in Queensland Australia
  1. Florin Oprescu,
  2. Bridie Scott-Parker,
  3. Jeanne Dayton
  1. University of the Sunshine Coast

Abstract

Background The road safety of children and young adults is an important topic across the globe due to the significant loss of life in this population due to road crash fatalities. To inform preventative interventions directed at high risk population it is important to explore the characteristics of fatal accidents involving young passengers and drivers.

Methods In Queensland, Australia, the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian collects data pertaining to every registered child death (<18 years), including deaths due to road crashes. Data for the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2012 was analysed with regards to demographic factors and variables such as age, gender, driver licence status and socioeconomic status, in order to provide insights into risk factors associated with traffic related child deaths where a driver 21 years or younger was involved.

Results Between 2004–2012, 100 children aged <18 years died in a road crash in Queensland where the driver was 21 years or younger, amounting to a total of 6283.5 disability adjusted life years. Risk factors included being male, living in a socioeconomically-disadvantaged location, driving inexperience and driving on the road before licensed. Ninety percent of fatalities were in the 15–17 years group and 68% of fatalities were male, suggesting gender-focused interventions that target male children, youth, and their parents deserve additional resourcing, especially in low resource areas. There is a clear need to engage youth and parents more broadly to reduce the risks associated with unlicensed driving, and to ensure that these youth have access to and are engaged with relevant programs in order to gain the maximum road safety benefits for themselves, their passengers, and other road users.

Conclusion Knowledge regarding contributors to and characteristics of crashes are vital for intervention efforts that prevent crash involvement of young people. For children to be safe on the road, the wider system which supports, regulates, and encourages their safety needs to operate effectively. Additional attention should be focused on environmental factors such as socio economic status and other social determinants of health in addition to driver-specific factors.

  • road safety
  • children
  • youth
  • car crashes

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