Background Despite road safety being a policy priority for decades, road transport crashes remain a leading cause of injury and death. Young novice drivers are disproportionally affected.
Methods We used data from a 2003/2004 Australian survey of young drivers (n=20 806), linked to police-reported crash, hospital and death data up to 2016. We used generalised linear models to estimate the association between protective and risk factors with car crash.
Results After adjusting for confounding, drivers of lowest socioeconomic status had 1.90 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.88) times higher rate of crash related hospitalisation compared with drivers of highest socioeconomic status. Drivers with the highest risky-driving scores had 1.92 times (95% CI 1.13- 3.27) higher rates of hospitalised crashes compared with drivers with the lowest scores. Drivers with three or more driving offences had 3.28 (95% CI 2.28–4.72) times higher rates of single vehicle crashes compared with drivers with no driving offences. Drivers who participated in a youth resilience education program during school had 0.76 (95% CI 0.60–0.96) lower rate of any crash, compared with those who did not participate in such program.
Conclusion We showed the sustained effect of risk and protective factors during youth and crash later in life. This implies that, in addition to creating safe-systems, injury prevention also needs to consider the intersection of the wider social determinants of health to address the underlying causes. This broader, temporal concept is embodied in a life course approach to injury prevention.
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