Highway Safety:

Factors Affecting Involvement in Vehicle Crashes

PEMD-95-3: Published: Oct 27, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the factors that contribute to vehicular crashes, focusing on: (1) drivers' age, gender, and driving history; and (2) vehicle size and age.

GAO found that: (1) driver characteristics far outweigh vehicle factors in predicting vehicular crashes; (2) drivers who are younger, male, and have a history of traffic violations, particularly alcohol violations, are more likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes; (3) drivers 65 and older are the second most likely group to be involved in crashes; (4) older vehicles are slightly more at risk for crash involvement, but other factors that are linked to vehicle age may also play a part in older cars' involvement in crashes; (5) light cars are three times more likely to be involved in single-vehicle rollover crashes than heavy cars; (6) a car's wheel-base or engine size is a better predictor of crash involvement; and (7) light trucks and vans show a similar crash-involvement pattern except that driver gender is generally not a significant factor in predicting light truck and van crashes..

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