Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

BACKGROUND: Most previous literature on urban/rural differences in road crashes has a primary focus on severe injuries or deaths, which may be largely explained by variations of medical resources. Little has been reported on police-reported crashes by geographical location, or crash type and severity, especially among young drivers. METHODS: DRIVE is a prospective cohort study of 20,822 drivers aged 17-24 in NSW, Australia. Information on risk factors was collected via online questionnaire and subsequently linked to police-reported crashes. Poisson regression was used to analyse risk of various crash types by three levels of rurality of residence: urban, regional (country towns and surrounds) and rural. RESULTS: Compared to urban drivers, risk of crash decreased with increasing rurality (regional adjusted RR: 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.9; rural adjusted RR: 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-0.7). Among those who crashed, risk of injurious crash did not differ by geographic location; however, regional and rural drivers had significantly higher risk of a single versus multiple vehicle crash (regional adjusted RR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.5; rural adjusted RR: 2.0, 95% CI 1.1-3.6), which was explained by speeding involvement and road alignment at the time or site of crash. CONCLUSIONS: Although young urban drivers have a higher crash risk overall, rural and regional residents have increased risk of a single vehicle crash. Interventions to reduce single vehicle crashes should aim to address key issues affecting such crashes, including speeding and specific aspects of road geometry.

Original publication




Journal article


Accid Anal Prev

Publication Date





676 - 682


Accidents, Traffic/*statistics & numerical data Adolescent Adult Age Factors Automobile Driving/*statistics & numerical data Automobiles/*statistics & numerical data Confidence Intervals Female Humans Male New South Wales Prospective Studies Residence Characteristics/*statistics & numerical data Risk Risk Assessment Risk Factors Rural Population/*statistics & numerical data Urban Population/*statistics & numerical data Young Adult