Explaining the Association between Driver’s Age and the Risk of Causing a Road Crash through Mediation Analysis
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AuthorGomes-Franco, Karoline; Rivera Izquierdo, Mario; Martín de los Reyes, Luis Miguel; Jiménez Mejías, Eladio; Martínez Ruiz, Virginia Ana
Younger driversolder driversRoad crashesMediation analysisRisk factors
Gomes-Franco, K.; Rivera-Izquierdo, M.; Martín-delosReyes, L.M.; Jiménez-Mejías, E.; Martínez-Ruiz, V. Explaining the Association between Driver’s Age and the Risk of Causing a Road Crash through Mediation Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9041. [https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239041]
SponsorshipChair of Teaching and Research SEMERGEN-UGR.
It has been widely reported that younger and older drivers have an excess risk of causing a road crash. Two casual hypotheses may coexist: the riskier driving behaviors and age-related mechanisms in extreme age groups (direct path) and the different environmental and vehicle circumstances (indirect path). Our aim was to quantify, through a mediation analysis, the percentage contribution of both paths. A case-control study was designed from the Spanish Register of Road Crashes with victims from 2014 to 2017. Assuming a quasi-induced exposure approach, controls were non-responsible drivers involved in clean collisions between two or more vehicles (n = 52,131). Responsible drivers for these collisions plus drivers involved in single crashes constituted the case group (n = 82,071). A logit model in which the outcome was the log (odds) of causing a road crash and the exposure was age groups was adjusted for driver, vehicle and environmental factors. The highest crash risk was observed in extreme age groups, compared to the 35–44 year old age group: the youngest (18–24 years old, odds ratio = 2.14, 95% confidence interval: 2.06–2.24) and the oldest drivers (>74 years old, odds ratio = 3.30, 95% confidence interval: 3.04–2.58). The mediation analysis identified the direct path as the main explanatory mechanism for these increases: 89% in the youngest and 93% in the oldest drivers. These data support the hypothesis that the excess crash risk observed for younger and older drivers is mainly related to their higher frequency of risky driving behaviors and age-related loss of capabilities. Preventive strategies in extreme-aged drivers should focus on decreasing these behaviors.