Vehicle crash statistics abound thanks to multiple studies, and the resulting numbers involve drivers in all age groups.
Senior citizens comprise a group of drivers that has steadily increased over the years, but what about safety concerns for motorists who are over the age of 65?
The increase in numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 1991 to 2015, the number of elderly drivers on our roads increased by 50%. Statistics show that 40.1 million senior citizens had licenses to drive in 2015. By 2018, the number had increased to more than 45 million drivers according to data from the U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. This means that seniors represent one out of every five drivers.
The CDC reminds us that age brings impairments to memory, mobility and vision. Senior drivers have less ability than their younger counterparts to react in a timely manner to dangerous situations. For example, senior drivers 80 and older are twice as likely to become fatalities in multiple-vehicle crashes as drivers aged 16 to 59. Also, fatalities for miles traveled are highest among drivers aged 85 or older.
The good news
Seniors appear to be more conscious of driver safety on certain fronts than younger motorists. For example, findings from a 2014 AAA survey showed that motorists age 70 and older were less likely to use their cellphones while behind the wheel. They tend to avoid drinking and driving and they are more careful to use seatbelts than young drivers.
When to quit
Driver’s license renewal regulations vary from state to state for older drivers. However, many senior citizens have been driving for decades. They understand their capabilities and their limitations, and many know when it is time to put up the car keys for good.