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PLoS One. 2019 Apr 9;14(4):e0214205. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214205. eCollection 2019.

Comparison of traffic collision victims between older and younger drivers in South Korea: Epidemiologic characteristics, risk factors and types of collisions.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea.
Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, South Korea.



This study aimed to show the epidemiological characteristics and the difference in the risk factors and types of collision between older and younger drivers in Korea.


We collected data from the Emergency Department-based Injury In-depth Surveillance retrieved by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2011 to 2015. We included injured drivers aged ≥ 18 years who were registered in the database, who were limited to drivers of four-wheeled vehicles. The enrolled patients were divided according to age into older (≥ 65 years) and younger (< 65 years) drivers. The total number of enrolled drivers was 37,511; 2,361 (6.3%) of them were older drivers. The epidemiological characteristics (e.g., age, sex, fatality rate) of traffic collision victims for 5 years were determined, and the risk factors (e.g., seat belt use) and types of collision (single- vs. multi-vehicle) between the two groups were compared.


The median age and interquartile range (IQR; 25th and 75th percentiles) of all drivers were 41.0 (IQR, 32.0-52.0), and 24,544 (65.4%) of them were men. The median age increased from 40.0 (IQR, 31.0-50.0) to 43.0 (IQR, 33.0-54.0) between 2010 and 2015 (P < 0.001). The proportion of older drivers increased from 5.0% to 8.4% annually during the study period (P < 0.001). Between 2010 and 2015, the fatality rate decreased from 3.1% to 1.2% (P = 0.287) for older drivers and from 0.9% to 0.5% (P = 0.009) for younger drivers. The proportion of single-vehicle collision (25.9% vs. 20.3%) was higher in older than in younger drivers (P < 0.001). Older drivers had a lower rate of seat-belt use than younger drivers (79.0% vs. 83.0%, P < 0.001).


The proportion of older drivers increased annually during the study period, and older drivers experienced more single-vehicle collision and used seat belt less frequently than younger drivers. A national policy support to reduce traffic collision in older drivers and public relation activities to enhance their seat belt use should be strengthened in the future.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

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