OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to explain the relationship of a history of driver's violations as a factor in motor vehicle versus child pedestrian injury incidents. METHODS: A case-control study was conducted utilizing police reports from 1 January 1993, to 30 June 1995, to identify drivers (cases) whose car struck a child pedestrian less than 15 years of age. Controls were randomly selected drivers identified from the license files of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) who had no record of striking a child pedestrian in the 30 month study period. Two controls per case were selected based on postal code of residence and incident date of case. Prior driver citations, safety violations, license suspension/revocation, and negligent operator points were analyzed from 1 April 1991, to the incident date for cases and controls. RESULTS: Of 327 drivers who met the case definition, 237 (73%) had information on file in the California DMV driver records. Analysis was based on 237 cases and 474 controls. Drivers who hit a child pedestrian were more likely to have had a prior citation, more citations, more safety violations, a suspended or revoked license, or more negligent operator points than drivers who did not hit a child pedestrian in the study period. A positive association exists between the number of citations, safety violations, or negligent operator points and the likelihood that a driver hit a child pedestrian. CONCLUSIONS: Drivers with a history of driving infractions represent a high risk source of danger to child pedestrians. Possible routes of intervention include more rigorous sanctions against these drivers, more intensive education of the involved driver regarding pedestrians, higher insurance and monetary penalties, and a need to pursue more rigorously hit-and-run and unlicensed drivers, including modification of driver code violations for such cases.
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