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Accid Anal Prev. 2003 Nov;35(6):987-90.

Car insurance and the risk of car crash injury.

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  • 1Institute For International Health, University of Sydney, P.O. Box 576, 144 Burren Street, Newton 2042, NSW, Australia.


Despite speculation about the role of vehicle insurance in road traffic accidents, there is little research estimating the direction or extent of the risk relationship. Data from the Auckland Car Crash Injury Study (1998-1999) were used to examine the association between driving an uninsured motor vehicle and car crash injury. Cases were all cars involved in crashes in which at least one occupant was hospitalized or killed anywhere in the Auckland region. Controls were 588 drivers of randomly selected cars on Auckland roads. Participants completed a structured interview. Uninsured drivers had significantly greater odds of car crash injury compared to insured drivers after adjustment for age, sex, level of education, and driving exposure (odds ratio 4.77, 95% confidence interval 2.94-7.75). The causal mechanism for insurance and car crash injury is not easily determined. Although we examined the effects of multiple potential confounders in our analysis including socioeconomic status and risk-taking behaviours, both of which have been previously observed to be associated with both insurance status and car crash injury, residual confounding may partly explain this association. The estimated proportion of drivers who are uninsured is between 5 and 15% in developed countries, representing a significant public health problem worthy of further investigation.

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