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Child passenger injury risk in motor vehicle crashes: A comparison of nighttime and daytime driving by teenage and adult drivers

Publication Abstract

Chen, I.G., D.R. Durbin, Michael R. Elliott, T. Senserrick, and F.K. Winston. 2006. "Child passenger injury risk in motor vehicle crashes: A comparison of nighttime and daytime driving by teenage and adult drivers." Journal of Safety Research, 37(3), 299-306.

Introduction: To examine the association between child passenger injury risk, restraint use, and crash time (day vs. night) for children in crashes of vehicles driven by teenage versus adult drivers. Methods: Cross-sectional study involving telephone interviews with insured drivers in a probability sample of 6,184 crashes involving 10,028 children. Results: Child passengers in teen nighttime crashes had an increased injury risk and an increased risk of restraint mouse compared with those in teen daytime crashes. This increased injury risk can be explained by differences in the age of child passengers, collision type, and child passenger's restraint status associated with time of day. Conclusions: In order to limit the risk of injury to child passengers driven by teens, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws should include provisions restricting nighttime driving, as well as mandates for age-appropriate restraint for child passengers. Consideration should also be given for education in child passenger safety for novice teen drivers as part of the licensing process. Impact on Industry: Results of this study can be used to support advocacy efforts by the automotive industry and others to promote nighttime driving restrictions on novice drivers. In addition, given that both driver groups were more likely to be involved in a single-vehicle collision during the night, technologies such as electronic stability control may offer opportunities for protection. Further reseach on specific circumstances of teen nighttime crashes is needed to inform industry efforts to improve visibility or vehicle operation under poor lighting conditions.

DOI:10.1016/j.jsr.2006.01.005 (Full Text)

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