The practical implications of this study include the need to develop public health interventions to remind parents and adult drivers of the risks associated with driving children and take steps to minimize that risk.
A new study from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), the University of Connecticut, and Bates College finds that adult drivers with child passengers are significantly more likely than those without child passengers to be in fatal crashes. The research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
In specific, the results of this important driver safety research show that:
- Childhood crash exposure when traveling with an adult driver is low: 0.78% of vehicle miles traveled by adults included a child passenger.
- The estimated risk of a single-vehicle fatal crash was found to be over 6 times higher when an adult was driving with a child passenger.
- The risk was 7.2 times higher among female drivers
- The risk was 5.0 times higher among drivers 25–44 years old.
Lead author, Dr. Richard Dunn notes, “Despite their relatively low crash exposure, child passengers are associated with greater risk of being in a fatal crash. The reasons may be that children may engage in distractive behaviors, or that trips with children may be more taxing for adults who need to be on time to day care, work, or other obligations.”
Author Dr. Eduardo Romano said that: “The practical implications of this study include the need to develop public health interventions to remind parents and adult drivers of the risks associated with driving children and take steps to minimize that risk.”
Source: Dunn, Richard & Tefft, Nathan & Romano, Eduardo. (2022). The prevalence and excess mortality risk of driving with children. Journal of Safety Research. 10.1016/j.jsr.2022.05.009. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2022.05.009)
This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Grant number R21AA026031). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) is a national independent non-profit that conducts health research and evaluation and provides technical assistance. For almost 50 years, we have partnered with government agencies and community organizations on programs and policies to improve everyone’s health, with a goal to eliminate health disparities. www.pire.org.
PIRE’s National Capital Region (NCR) Center conducts research, evaluation, and training to advance public health knowledge and inform practices and policy decisions. Major areas of research include Injury and violence epidemiology and economic analysis, traffic safety, with special focus on alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, alcohol, marijuana, and opioid misuse and underage drinking, alcohol and other substance abuse policy research and adverse childhood experiences. https://ncr.pire.org/