Accident Rates with Older Drivers Not What You Would Assume

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Accident Rates with Older Drivers Not What You Would Assume

A decade ago safety researchers warned that traffic accidents would increase as the nation’s aging population meant an increase in number of older drivers on the road. But according to a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety those warnings might have been wrong.

Older Drivers Less Likely

According to the study, today’s drivers aged 70 and older are actually less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations, as well as less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they are involved in a crash.

But Why?

Vehicles are getting safer and seniors are generally getting healthier, according to the institute. Additionally, older drivers are actually driving more often. “The fact that older drivers increased their average mileage … may indicate that they are remaining physically and mentally comfortable with driving tasks,” the institute said. Often when older drivers reduce the number of trips they take it’s because they have an understanding that their driving abilities might be decreasing. Instead, they compensate - driving less at night, during rush hour, in bad weather or over long distances.

A Marked Shift

Overall in the U.S. traffic fatalities have declined to levels not seen since the late 1940s. The shift began in the mid-1990s and indicates that even though baby boomers head into their retirement years they aren’t making U.S. roads deadlier. Since 1997, older drivers have enjoyed bigger declines as demonstrated by fatal crash rates per driver as well as per vehicle miles driven than middle-age drivers (defined in the study as ages 35 to 54). The greatest rate of decline was seen among drivers age 80 and over, nearly twice that of middle-age drivers and drivers ages 70 to 74.

If you’re involved in a car accident, you need the advice of expert car accident attorneys such as those at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.

Source: AZ Central, Accident rates improving for older drivers, February 20, 2014

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