Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Dugan

Second Advisor

Frank Porell

Third Advisor

Michael Johnson


Driving is related to quality of life and health outcomes. Older drivers involved in car crashes have a higher risk of experiencing a severe injury or fatality. Understanding factors related to injury severity may identify points of intervention to promote road safety. The purpose of this study is to investigate how individual characteristics, vehicle elements, environmental elements, and driving licensing policy are associated with level of injury severity from no injury to fatal injury resulting from car crashes. Furthermore, this dissertation research utilizes the Geographic Information System (GIS) process to visualize the location of crashes and to identify the hot spots of crashes in state of Massachusetts.

This dissertation utilized motor vehicle crash data of 2010 to 2012 from General Estimate System (GES) and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) administrated by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Using the GES crash data, multinomial logistic regression analysis was performed. Results indicated that older drivers (age 65 and older) were more likely to have fatality and severe injury in a crash compared to younger drivers (age 35 to 59). Impaired drivers had a much greater likelihood of fatal and severe injuries compared to drivers with normal conditions. Drivers with sedans compared to pick-up trucks were more likely to have severe injuries. In terms of policy factors, drivers involved in a crash in states with mandatory medical reporting for at a risk driver had decreased risk of fatal and severe injuries. Also, drivers in states requiring the vision test at license renewal had reduced risk of fatal and minor injuries. Using the FARS crash data, results provided an explanation of both the identification and the visual representation of the hot spots of crash locations in MA observed by performing spatial analysis of the GIS application.

In conclusion, among adult drivers involved in crashes, those who are older or impaired (physical or mental) have a significantly greater risk of fatality or serious injury. The results suggest that license renewal policies that limit driving of those risky drivers may be an effective early intervention to enhance safety on the roads.