The characteristics of the driver population in Kentucky were examined and related to their driving record. Also, the characteristics of high-risk drivers were determined and compared to the driver population. Accident records and responses to a questionnaire distributed to a random sample of the driver population and to high-risk drivers were the data source for the study.

Frequency of accidents was found to be much higher among males than it was among females and was highest among teenage drivers. However, females had a higher accident rate. Teenage drivers had the highest accident rate. The rate decreased for middle-aged drivers and then increased again among older drivers. In contrast, the fatal accident rate for males was almost twice that for females. Young drivers and males tended to have more single-vehicle accidents while older drivers and females were involved in more rear-end- and angle-type accidents. Unsafe speed and alcohol involvement were listed as contributing factors in accidents more often for young drivers and males. Failure to yield was listed more often for accidents involving older drivers and females. A direct relationship was found between the number of traffic violations a driver receives and frequency of accident involvement. Definite relationships were found between driver record and several variables such as experience, amount of driving, and population of city of residence. The major differences between high-risk drivers and the driver population was that high-risk drivers had a much higher proportion of young drivers and male drivers. Opinions from a sample of drivers were obtained on several questions pertaining to traffic safety such as the 55 mph (24.6 m/s) speed limit and mandatory seatbelt usage.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 489

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