Research Papers

Prevalance of driver-related risk factors for crashing in mildly injured drivers.

Filename 1A-Brubacher_FP_Prevalence-of-driver-related-risk-factors-for-crashing1.pdf
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Date added June 13, 2014
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Category 2014 CMRSC XXIV Vancouver
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 1A
Author/Auteur Jeffrey R Brubacher, MD, MSc, Herbert Chan, PhD, Elizabeth Purssell, Benjamin Tuyp, Ediweera Desapriya, PhD, Vahid Mehrnoush, MD
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation

1A Brubacher_Prevalence of driver-related risk factors for crashing


Background: The majority of crashes cause “minor” injuries that are not captured in road
trauma surveillance systems and seldom studied in traffic safety literature. Injury related
disability is an important public health concern but the risk of disability following minor crashes is
poorly understood. The majority of crashes are due to driver factors. Some driver factors are
well understood but, for many potential risk factors, much is unknown.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of driver-related risk factors in drivers involved in minor
crashes. To determine the health outcome of drivers after minor crashes
Methods: This study was approved by The University of British Columbia research ethics
board. We interviewed a convenience sample of injured drivers who were treated in the
emergency department of Vancouver General Hospital. We included injured drivers between the
2 ages of 17 and 75. Our exclusion criteria were: i) non-residents, ii) inability to communicate in
English, iii) amnestia for the event, iv) unable to complete interviews due to pain or injuries.
Baseline interviews were conducted in person. Follow-up interviews, 6 months after the crash,
were conducted by telephone.
Results: We approached 123 injured drivers, 77 agreed to be interviewed, and interviews were
completed in 74 (60%). Followup interviews were completed in 47 drivers. Prior to the index
crash, 5.4% of drivers reported drinking alcohol, 1.4% reported illicit drug use and 41.9%
reported using prescription medications including antidepressants 5.4%, opioids 4.1%, and
sedatives 4.1%. In 39 drivers for whom blood alcohol levels (BALs) were measured as part of
clinical care, there was perfect agreement between BAL and self-reported alcohol use prior to
the crash. Nine drivers (12.2%) were distracted at time of crash: 1.4% were using a cell phone
at time of crash, 1.4% adjusting the radio, 6.8% were talking to passengers and 2.7% were
distracted by something else. Based on the Dula Dangerous Driving Index, 5.4% were
aggressive drivers, 8.1% were risky drivers, and 10.8% drove while experiencing anger or other
negative emotions. At 6 month follow-up, many drivers were experiencing health problems due
to the crash, 53.2% were not fully recovered, 46.8% had not returned to their usual activities,
and 29.8% were not back to work. Of the 44 participants who were back to driving, 15.9%
reported a near miss and 4.5% reported another crash. Nine (20.5%) reported drinking and
driving and 9.1% reported driving after cannabis use. Cell phone use (15.9%) and use of other
electronics while driving (25%) were also common.
Conclusions: Driver-related risk factors are common in drivers involved in minor injury crashes
and drivers persist to take risks after being involved in a crash. Despite their name, minor injury
crashes are often associated with slow recovery and prolonged absenteeism from work.

Jeffrey R Brubacher, MD, MSc, Herbert Chan, PhD, Elizabeth Purssell, Benjamin Tuyp, Ediweera Desapriya, PhD, Vahid Mehrnoush, MD