The rate at which car drivers and passengers were injured in 1986 varied significantly with age and sex. For drivers, the number of casualties per kilometre travelled was high for young drivers, fell with age until the late 50's and then rose rapidly among older drivers. There were similar variations for passengers: rates were relatively low for children, reached a peak for young adults (17-20), fell until the 50's and then rose again. Variations among casualty rates for adult passengers derive from the strong correlation between the ages of injured passengers and of their drivers: young adult passengers, for example, tend to travel with young drivers who are more likely than older drivers to be involved in an accident. Casualty rates also differed between front and rear seat passengers. While rates for children were higher in the front than in the rear, the reverse was true for adults: their casualty rates were up to twice as high in the rear as in the front. This must be largely due to the low proportion of adult rear seat passengers who wore seat belts. The number of casualties per kilometre travelled fell by up to one half between 1976 and 1986, with generally smaller falls for the less severe casualties. There were exceptions, however; rates for young male drivers, elderly female drivers and child passengers fell much less or, in certain cases, actually rose. (A)

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