Research Papers

Street Racing among the Ontario Adult Population: Prevalence and Impact on Collision Risk

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Date added June 30, 2016
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Category 2016 CARSP XXVI Halifax
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 6C
Author/Auteur Christine M. Wickens, Reginald G. Smart, Evelyn Vingilis, Anca Ialomiteanu, Gina Stoduto, and Robert E. Mann
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation not available

Abstract

Background/Context: Street racing has been identified as a significant public concern in Canada (Singhal et al., 2006). Yet, little is known about the prevalence of this behaviour and its impact on collision risk. Although no official data relating collisions to street racing are available for Canada, data from both the U.S. and Australia suggest that very few crashes result from this behaviour (Knight et al., 2004; Leal & Watson, 2011). However, policing agencies in many jurisdictions do not include street racing as a coding option in a crash report (Meirambayeva et al., 2014a).

Recently, Smart et al. (2011) reported that 1.0% of the Ontario adult population (aged 18+ years) self-reported past year street racing. They also observed that the behaviour was most prevalent among males aged 18-34 years. However, Vingilis et al. (2011) observed a higher rate of street racing (20.4%) among Ontario high school students (grades 11 and 12) with an advanced-level or full driver’s licence.

Aims/Objectives: The purpose of the current study was two-fold: (1) to update the estimated prevalence of street racing among the Ontario adult population based on a larger sample than that used by Smart et al. (2011), and; (2) to examine the impact of street racing on collision risk.

Methods/Target Group: Data were based on telephone interviews with 11,240 respondents who reported having driven in the past year. Data were derived from the 2009-2014 cycles of the CAMH Monitor, an ongoing cross-sectional survey of adults aged 18+ years. A hierarchical-entry binary logistic regression analysis of collision involvement in the previous 12 months was conducted and included measures of street racing, demographic characteristics (sex, age, marital status, education, income, region), driving exposure, and driving after use of alcohol and use of cannabis.

Results/Activities: The prevalence of street racing was 0.9%. Based on univariate analyses, street racing was more prevalent among males (70.8%; p<.01) and those aged 18-34 years (56.5%; p<.001). Controlling for demographic characteristics, driving exposure, and driving after use of alcohol and use of cannabis, self-reported street racing significantly increased the odds of a crash (OR=5.17, p<.001).

Discussion/Deliverables: The estimated prevalence of street racing at 0.9% and the higher prevalence among males and those aged 18-34 years replicated the preliminary findings reported by Smart et al. (2011). Results of the multivariate analysis revealed that even when controlling for demographics, driving exposure, and driving after use of alcohol and use of cannabis, street racers faced more than a five-fold increase in the odds of a crash.

In 2007, Ontario introduced new street racing and stunt driving legislation which has reduced licence suspensions, convictions, and casualties (Meirambayeva et al. 2014a,b). The current data were collected after this legislation was introduced, suggesting that there remains a group of adult street racers at extremely high risk of a crash. Further program and policy options must be considered to target this contingent.

Conclusions: A small percentage of the Ontario adult population engages in street racing, but faces an extremely high risk of collision and poses a significant hazard on our roadways.

Christine M. Wickens, Reginald G. Smart, Evelyn Vingilis, Anca Ialomiteanu, Gina Stoduto, and Robert E. Mann