Nighttime driving, passenger transport, and injury crash rates of young drivers.
OBJECTIVE: This study examines the association of nighttime driving and the carrying of passengers with the rate of motor vehicle crashes that resulted in severe or fatal injury to young drivers in California before the implementation of a graduated licensing system. METHOD: Passenger vehicle drivers aged 16 or 17 involved in injury crashes in California from 1 January 1993 to 30 June 1998 were identified through a police crash database. An induced exposure method was used to estimate driving exposure. Odds ratios for driver injury crashes were estimated with logistic regression. RESULTS: Driving at night, driving without adult supervision, driving with passengers, using alcohol, being 16, and being male were associated with high rates of driver injury crash. CONCLUSIONS: The injury crash rate for drivers aged 16 or 17 increases during nighttime hours and in the absence of adult supervision, with or without other passengers. Driving between 10 pm and midnight is particularly dangerous for young drivers. Nighttime driving restrictions that begin at 10 pm or earlier and restrictions on carrying passengers at any hour may increase the effectiveness of graduated licensing systems.