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MONDAY, Nov. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Driving a large vehicle and being a young male are among the factors that improve a person's chances of surviving a car crash, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed more than 1,100 head-on crashes and found that more people aged 15 to 24 were involved in these types of collisions than any other age groups.
But while people aged 15 to 24 were involved in 21 percent of head-on crashes, their death rate of 39 percent was the lowest among all age groups, according to study author Uzay Kirbiyik, a doctoral student in epidemiology at Indiana University's School of Public Health.
"An intervention that reduces the involvement of younger drivers will likely help reduce the death rate of other age groups," Kirbiyik said in a university news release. "This shouldn't be a surprise, but it is not an easy task to do."
He also found that women are more likely than men to die in head-on crashes, but did not examine the possible reasons for this difference.
Vehicle size was another important factor. People in cars are 17 times more likely to die in a head-on crash than those in a light truck, and nine times more likely to die than those in an SUV.
Other factors associated with improved chances of surviving a head-on collision included being in a newer vehicle, using a seat belt and airbag deployment during the crash, according to the study presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Each year in the United States, about 30,000 people die in vehicle crashes.
-- Robert Preidt
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