Persons of all ages use our roads every day. Young road users include infants in car seats, and young children who walk or cycle to school, or ride as passengers in a motor vehicle. Adults of all ages equally rely on roads and transit to get to school and to work. Moreover, regardless of age, everyone uses our roads for health and leisure activities and to remain connected with family and friends.

The risks we face on the road change over time and with age. Young, school-aged children are at higher risk as pedestrians because they lack the developmental abilities to accurately judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles and decide whether they have time to cross the street. Young drivers are over-represented in road crashes due to their young age and inexperience driving. They are less able to detect hazards on the road and more prone to risk-taking behaviour. Conversely, aging drivers who, in addition to normal age-related declines in abilities such as slower reaction times and limited mobility, may also be affected by other conditions such as visual impairment, heart disease, stroke, and dementia and impairment due to medications related to those conditions. However, the ability of older persons to retain their mobility is essential to their health.

Commercial vehicles drivers face a different set of risks because of how much time they spend behind the wheel on the road in a much larger vehicle. While large trucks are less often involved in road crashes, despite driving much longer distances than drivers of passenger vehicles, the consequences of large truck crashes are substantial due to their large size and mass. In sharp contrast, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers of off-road vehicles are much more vulnerable to injury since they lack the protective exterior of a motor vehicle.

TIRF has conducted a wide range of studies looking at the many different types of road users described above. In addition, impaired drivers and young drivers have been a special focus as they account for a substantial proportion of fatalities and injuries on our roads.