Vehicle Safety Characteristics in Vulnerable Driver Populations


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National data suggest drivers who are younger, older, and have lower socioeconomic status (SES) have heightened crash-related injury rates. A new study led by Kristina Metzger, PhD, in collaboration with PISC Senior Scholar, Allison Curry, PhD, and many more, examine the extent to which drivers who are younger, older, and have lower SES are disproportionately driving less safe vehicles.

Metzger et al. analyzed data from the NJ Safety and Health Outcomes warehouse, which includes all licensing and crash data from 2010–2017. Across all age groups drivers of higher SES were in newer and safer vehicles compared with those of lower SES. For example, young drivers living in lowest-income census tracts drove vehicles that were on average almost twice as old as young drivers living in highest-income tracts.Driver groups that are over-represented in fatal crashes—young drivers, older drivers, and those of lower SES—are also driving the less safe vehicles. Ensuring drivers are in the safest car they can afford should be further explored as an approach to reduce crash-related injuries among vulnerable populations

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