Vehicle safety and young drivers. Stage 1: profile of young driver vehicles.

Watson, L. & Newstead, S.

This project established the profile of vehicle types driven by young drivers by analysing the types of vehicles in which young drivers are involved in crashes. The crash data compiled for use with the Used Car Safety ratings of Newstead et al (2007) comprising of real crashes reported to police from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia during 1987-2005 was utilised. Analysis focused on the profile of vehicle types crashed by young drivers according to the vehicle classifications make and model, age of vehicle and broad market group. Young driver gender distribution differences by crashed vehicle type profile were also examined. Analysis was carried out for the whole of Australia as well as specifically for Victoria. Young driver vehicle profiles within the RACV Emergency Road Assist (ERA) membership database were also examined and compared to the profile of young driver crashed vehicles for Australia as a whole and for Victoria. This report confirmed that both female and male young drivers and RACV ERA young members are driving older than average vehicles than their older counterparts. Young male drivers and young male RACV ERA members are also driving older than average vehicles than their young female counterparts. In the case of young female drivers and RACV ERA young female members, the vehicles driven are smaller on average than those driven by older drivers and older RACV ERA members respectively. The most favoured vehicle market group across all age groups for male crash-involved drivers and male RACV ERA members is Large followed by the Small vehicle market group for young male crash-involved drivers and the Medium vehicle market group for male ERA members of all ages and older male crash-involved drivers. Overall, the crashworthiness of the vehicles favoured by young crash-involved drivers and young female RACV ERA members is poorer than that of older crash-involved drivers and older RACV ERA members respectively. Young male ERA member vehicle crashworthiness is similar to that of older male ERA member’s vehicles and better than female ERA member vehicles across all age groups. The opposite is true in terms of aggressivity of young crash-involved driver vehicles and young ERA member driver vehicles. Within vehicle age groupings, vehicles crashed by young drivers were generally less crashworthy than those driven by older drivers. The secondary safety outcomes are a reflection of young crash-involved driver and young ERA member vehicle choice. Consideration needs to be given to ways that can influence this vehicle choice so that safety outcomes may be improved. Results of the research are invaluable for providing insight into young drivers’ vehicle choice. Directions for further research have been identified. (Author/publisher) (See also companion report: Whelan, M., Scully, J. and Newstead, S. (2009) Vehicle safety and young drivers Stages 2 and 3: Analysis of young driver crash types and vehicle choice optimisation (

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20091690 ST [electronic version only]

Clayton, Victoria, Monash University, Accident Research Centre MUARC, 2009, VIII + 45 p. + app., 12 ref.

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