Examining the Influence of Aggressive Behavior on Driver Injury Severity in Traffic Crashes
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In this paper, we capture the moderating effect of aggressive driving behavior while assessing the influence of a comprehensive set of variables on injury severity. In doing so, we are able to account for the indirect effects of variables on injury severity through their influence on aggressive driving behavior, as well as the direct effect of variables on injury severity. The methodology used in the paper to accommodate the moderating effect of aggressive driving behavior takes the form of two models - one for aggressive driving and another for injury severity. These are appropriately linked to obtain the indirect and direct effects of variables. The data for estimation is obtained from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study (NMVCCS). From an empirical standpoint, we consider a fine age categorization until 20 years of age when examining age effects on aggressive driving behavior and injury severity. There are several important results from the empirical analysis undertaken in the current paper based on post-crash data collection on aggressive behavior participation just prior to the crash and injury severity sustained in a crash. Young drivers (especially novice drivers between 16-17 years of age), drivers who are not wearing seat belt, under the influence of alcohol, not having a valid license, and driving a pickup are found to be most likely to behave aggressively. Situational, vehicle, and roadway factors such as young drivers traveling with young passengers, young drivers driving an SUV or a pick-up truck, driving during the morning rush hour, and driving on roads with high speed limits are also found to trigger aggressive driving behavior. In terms of vehicle occupants, the safest situation from a driver injury standpoint is when there are 2 or more passengers in the vehicle, at least one of whom is above the age of 20 years. These and many other results are discussed, along with implications of the result for graduated driving licensing (GDL) programs.