Risky Driving Behavior an Indicator of Mortality On or Off the Road

While it may seem obvious that reckless driving can lead to injury or death in an automobile accident, a new study suggests that a record of risky driving is a good indicator of general mortality as well.

The study, “More Than Just Data: Motor Vehicle Records as Lifestyle Indicators for Life Insurers,” was completed by RGA Reinsurance Company and LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Researchers found that there was a significant correlation between drivers who received citations for serious moving violations and the likelihood that the person would suffer a non-vehicle-related death.

Researchers conducted an analysis of over 7.4 motor vehicle record (MVR) requests and found that the data set is a good predictor of a person’s likelihood of dying in general, not just in an automobile accident. Drivers with major violations, such as excessive speeding or alcohol-related infractions, had a 70 percent higher all-cause mortality rate than drivers who did not have such violations. The study found that having six or more violations on an MVR increased a person’s mortality rate by 80 percent.

The trends apply to different genders and age groups as well. While women generally have lower rates of violations, the connection between major violations and all-cause mortality is greater for women than for men. For women with major driving violations, the mortality rate is 100 percent greater than women with clean driving records; for men, the number is 61 percent.

The number of driving violations of any kind is itself a strong predictor of mortality, according to the researchers. The greater number of violations on a driver’s MVR, the higher the mortality rate. Drivers with two to five violations had a mortality rate 24 percent higher, while individuals with six or greater had a 79 percent higher rate.

The worst risk is represented by drivers with a high number of major driving violations. One major violation increases the all-cause mortality rate by 51 percent, while four or greater brings the rate to more than twice that of drivers who did not have major violations.

Explaining the results, Elliott C. Wallace of LexisNexis was quoted in the New York Times as saying that people with a great number of major driving violations are “probably engaging in other high-risk lifestyle activities that lead to death at a higher rate than the average person. If you live a very risky lifestyle, you are going to die sooner.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012. Filed under News & Press.