Passenger carriage and car crash injury: A comparison between younger and older drivers

Lawrence T. Lam, Robyn Norton, Mark Woodward, Jennie Connor, Shanthi Ameratunga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to investigate the effects of passenger carriage, including the number of passengers and the ages of passengers, on the risk of car crash injury. The study utilised data obtained from a case-control study conducted in the Auckland region of New Zealand between 1998 and 1999. Cases were car drivers who involved in crashes in which at least one occupant was hospitalised or killed. Controls were selected from a cluster random sample of car drivers on the roads in the same region. Self-report information on the numbers of passengers carried and their ages at the time of crash or at the time of the roadside survey, as well as potential confounding factors, was obtained from the drivers, or a proxy, using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. A total of 571 cases (93% response rate), including 195 younger drivers (aged <25 years), and 588 controls (79% response rate), including 94 younger drivers participated in the study. After adjusting for other risk factors, the odds of car crash injury among younger drivers was 15.55 times (95% CI 5.76-42.02) for those who carried two or more same age passengers, and 10.19 times (95% CI 2.84-36.65) for those who carried two or more other age passengers, compared with unaccompanied drivers. In comparison, no increase in risk was observed for older drivers who carried two or more passengers regardless of age. The carriage of two or more passengers, irrespective of the ages of passengers, significantly increases the risk of car crash injury among younger drivers. Passenger restriction as part of the graduate licensing system was discussed in the light of these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


  • Car crash injury
  • Passenger carriage
  • Risk factors
  • Young drivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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