The Effects of Age on Road Crash Patterns in South Australia from 1994 to 1998
The crashes of older drivers (aged over 65) were compared with those of drivers in younger age groups for all road crashes reported to South Australia Police for the years 1994 to 1998. Comparisons were made for the number of crashes, the types of crashes, and the conditions in which the crashes occurred. It was found that older drivers were involved in relatively few crashes, and their crash involvement rates were relatively low except when adjusted for kilometres driven. With regard to crash types, the crashes of older drivers were more likely than those of younger drivers to have resulted in severe injury and to have involved some form of turning movement, especially right turns. Older drivers were more likely to have been deemed responsible for the crash in which they were involved but were less likely to have been driving at excessive speed or with an illegal blood alcohol concentration when the crash occurred. Older drivers were less likely to have crashed in adverse driving conditions, such as peak hour traffic times, night time or in periods of wet weather. The fact that older drivers were less likely to crash in adverse driving conditions suggests that they may have been deliberately limiting their exposure to such conditions. This analysis is being used as the background to a subsequent exploratory study of the self regulatory behaviour of older drivers that will seek to determine both the extent and nature of the self regulation practised by older drivers.