ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Early morning road crashes: the effects of age and gender

Smith, SS, Armstrong, K, Steinhardt, Dale, Haworth, Narelle (Peer reviewed)

Driver Risk & Behaviour


Crash frequency is typically much lower during the night than during the day, but it is well recognized that driving at night has a much higher risk relative to traffic exposure. The timing and magnitude of this increased risk is less well understood. The intent of this study was to identify the temporal position of the nighttime crash peak, and to estimate the odds of crash while driving at each hour of the day. Data included crashes registered in Queensland Transport?s Road Crash Database for the period mid 2000 to mid 2006 (for all crash severity levels), across urban and non-urban geographical areas. Analyses were restricted to passenger vehicles (cars, station wagons, utility vehicles and 4-wheel drives). Crashes where blood alcohol content was greater than zero was recorded were also excluded. Significant age and gender differences were found for a peak in early morning crash risk. Young males had more than six times the odds for crashes resulting in fatality or hospitalization crash at this time of day. The 2-3am peak is consistent with international findings that suggest sleepiness, rather than darkness, as the primary contributor to these crashes.