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Contrary to the findings of the Japanese Metropolitan Police, a new study has just been released in Britain which suggests that older drivers are not dangerous on the roads. The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) data shows that older drivers actually become less of a risk than drivers under the age of thirty. Unfortunately, though, drivers over the age of seventy are more likely to be seriously injured when they do get into an accident. Neil Greig, director of the IAM Motoring Trust suggests that older drivers self-regulate themselves as they realize their abilities are weakening.
Still, the U.K. requires drivers over seventy to renew their licenses every three years, but it's up to the driver to report any physical conditions that could impair their driving. The U.K. government is considering adding new testing requirements for drivers over the age of seventy-five.

In other news, ninety-one percent of teen drivers consider themselves safe, though only 34-percent would say the same for their friends. Feel free to scare yourself by reading an entire press release of teen-driving statistics after the break.

[Sources: What Car, Erie Insurance]

Survey reveals teen attitudes about friends' driving habits as well as their own

Despite the fact that auto crashes are the top killer of U.S. teens, a recent survey by Erie Insurance and Lookin' Out, the company's teen driving awareness program, reveals that most teens consider themselves to be good drivers. But while most respondents (91 percent) believe they're driving safely, their other answers told a different story.

The survey, conducted in spring 2008 among 2127 licensed drivers aged 16-19 at 16 Lookin' Out participant schools, revealed a number of risky behaviors.

* Cell phone use among teens is high (76 percent regularly talk on a cell phone while driving).
* Text messaging while driving is common among teens (57 percent sometimes or often read or send text messages while driving).
* Most teens (93 percent) play loud music when they drive.
* Nearly half (48 percent) admit they're easily distracted when friends are passengers.

"These survey results also reveal a real discrepancy between how students perceive their own driving behaviors and how they judge others' habits behind the wheel," said Mark Dombrowski, Public Relations supervisor at Erie Insurance.

While 91 percent consider themselves good drivers, only about a third (34 percent) say their friends are good drivers. And nearly all (97 percent) of the respondents reported seeing other teens taking risks (speeding, not wearing seatbelts, etc.) while driving.

According to the National Safety Council, young drivers aged 15 to 20 are involved in fatal traffic crashes at more than twice the rate as the rest of the population. The Erie Insurance-created Lookin' Out program, which has 72 participating schools for the current school year, is unlike other teen driving programs because it's rooted in positive peer influence.

"Each activity is created by teenagers for their peers," added Dombrowski. "We believe that helping to make teenagers better drivers will make the roads safer for everyone."

Lookin' Out schools create and implement activities to address the risks covered in the survey, such as:

* Seat belt use
* Speeding or reckless behavior
* Limiting the number of passengers in the car
* Alcohol and drug use, and their effects on driving
* Eliminating distractions such as cell phones and loud music

"Teens need to be aware of the dangers and avoid taking unnecessary risks while driving," said John Brinling, Erie Insurance president & CEO. "And it's equally important that they avoid riding with others who are engaging in risky behaviors such as speeding, text-messaging or driving under the influence."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Shenanigans. Old people can't drive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Recently, a 79 year old was driving down the highway and crossed the median where he hit and killed the driver of an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunatley, these stories are not uncommon, more the reason why when people reach a certain age they should have to succomb to physical tests by certified doctors and a driving test at the local DMV like any other teenager.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Recently, an 19 yr old driver crossed the median and crashed into a church van which exploded into flames and killed 3 children. Unfortunatley, these stories are not uncommon, more the reason why physical tests and driving tests are obviously NOT a way to prevent accidents for the young or the elderly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Of course we are safer drivers. We realize that the time has come to slow down. Younger people will realize this when they get older too. We learn that life is short when we get older, why take chances with your life and others trying to get somewhere speeding like crazy. "Ever wonder what the younger generation is doing? They are wondering what the younger generation is doing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Recklessness vs Awareness

      I think I'll stick with the Jap study results.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What would the elderly be supposed to do if they were denied by law to have driving permits after a certain age? After driving your children everywhere for years, the law should also obligate them to drive YOU when you are no longer able to drive. Why be forced into riding a hot, uncomfortable bus? Force the children to drive the parents and wait for them, one day a week, and you will see a law like that revoked in no time and the licenses for old folks restored pronto.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't think it is the older drives that are the bad ones, it everyone that goes 10 below no matter what. I like to at least go the speed limit, if not over. Getting from point A to point B quick as I can in a safe-like way is more important to me than taking all day long. However, old people do seem to go down the wrong lanes (I have been with one when that happened), and they seem to drive with their brights on no matter what, and 40 is the official old people speed limit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i meant, it is *really* crucial in japan.
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      For all those "youngsters" who think that being a good driver entitles them to exclusive use of the highways; If you are lucky enough to survive your youth, you also will gain the experience needed to become a careful and safe driver. Then your grandchildren will want to take you off the highway. Tom
      • 7 Years Ago
      Contrary to what most Autoblog readers think, obeying the speed limit is safe driving.

      It really should be legal to disembowel any and all a-holes who think that their willingness to speed is an indication of their ability to drive.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Obeying the speed limit is one *part* of safe driving. I see plenty of drivers doing the speed limit that I would rather not share the road with.

        I would rate situational awareness and courtosey above speed as long as we are not talking gross speeding.
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        You guys misunderstood my comment. I am not arguing for or against any specific limit or why it is the way it is or how speed limits should be set or any of that.

        My argument is that even if a speed limit is set artifically low, it is not a reasonable justification to speed. However, even if you choose to, you should not have the expectation that others conform to your particular standard of what low and high are. So the matter is not of whether one is going 20+ over the posted 30 or 20+ over a posted 60, the problem is of expecting that others should keep up with your standards of what the speed should be.

        The whole purpose of living in a society is so that it is not one's arbitary standards but a reasonable (as in derived from the use of reason) supra-moral standard.

        Secondly, you can not coerce someone into breaking the law, even if it may be an unreasonable law. You certainly can do it for yourself, including facing the consequences, but no one has the right to make that decision for somebody else.
        • 7 Years Ago
        feh. broken comments system. See longer response below.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Dolemite, there are many cases where the speed limit is set too low. This results in driver inattention due to hours behind the wheel with very little stimulus. Try driving US95 through eastern Oregon. 55mph through a completley desolate area with only a handfull of small towns in the whole trip across the state. The road really necessitates cruise controll to keep the speed down and a good copilot for conversation to keep the driver from nodding off. One of the most difficult 60mph drives I have ever made.

        Your response to driving in the left lane is a double edged sword. If you are traveling at a slower speed than the flow of traffic, the safe thing to do is to move right and let the faster traffic pass by. Their speed may or may not be safe, but since you are only responsible for your actions, you should do the safe and responsible thing and not attempt to impede others. hile their actions may cause an accident, your actions only compound that and make an accident more likely.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's not safe to do the speed limit if the you're in the left lane of a highway and the flow of traffic is 15 mph over.

        As the article speculates, older people become less "reckless" to compensate for their lack of ability. I don't understand how lack of ability is safer. While driving slowly may compensate for your slower reaction times, it doesn't compensate for everyone else's. There are times when you have to make quick and sudden movements to avoid an accident
        • 7 Years Ago
        Pat, I am familiar with that argument. But the problem is that it is a logical fallacy. The argument should not be that the speed limit should conform to traffic, but that the traffic flow should conform to the speed limit! It is not going the speed limit that is unsafe but the act of going 15 over and expecting other to follow along that is unsafe.

        The very purpose of having speed limits is so that there is no arbitary speed of "traffic flow" whether it is 15, 20, 25 over the limit. It is exactly this kind of faulty "traffic flow" thinking that results in idiots recreating highway speeds on city streets.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Dolemite: Actually, studies show that the best way to set speed limits is by observing the traffic and setting the limit to something like the 85th percentile speed. The problem with that is that it requires observation and analysis, and bureaucrats don't like that. They want a blanket rule to apply everywhere, whether or not that's a good idea.

          Your argument is as flawed as the other. SETTING the speed limits should be done using the flow of traffic as a guide, and most often is not. Another thing governments don't like about that method is that there are very few speeders when the limits are set appropriately, hence less revenue from citations.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, the purpose of having speed limits is to give the police lawyer-proof justificaiton to pull you over for driving while black, teenaged, or having out of state plates so they can fish for drugs or warrants. And net the city and the insurance industry a couple hundred bucks in the process.

        A reasonable speed limit would be followed by a majority of drivers, which would defeat the purpose. Hence the idea we should drive at a crawl on open roads with good visibility.

        (And the flipside is you can drive at reckless speed in the rain at night in heavy traffic and not get a speeding citation because you're "under the limit'.)

        • 7 Years Ago
        Dolemite - I agree, driver's should obey the speed limit. But let's face facts - they don't. Those who do obey the speed limit should be aware of their speed and stay in the appropriate lane. I also believe there should be a minimum speed limit as it should be obvious, doing 35 mph on the highway is probably less safe than doing 70.

        I also agree that speed limits should not be arbitrarily set by drivers. But do you know how speed limits were originally set? Back during Eisenhower's term, when they built the major highways, they took people out for a drive and covered the speedometer. When the passengers said they felt uncomfortable at that speed, they used that speed as the basis for the speed limit. Seems pretty arbitrary to me. People are now more comfortable with higher speeds and cars are more capable, but the speed limit is still set at that arbitrary number. There is nothing magical about 55 mpg.

        The fact is everyone shares the road. When the flow of traffic is above the speed limit, you can either chose to go with it or fight it. All I'm saying is that fighting it is more dangerous than following it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        yeah, but sometime sthose old people be driving 5mph under the speed limit and that raises road rage and casues other to try and change lanes thereby making an accident which in my book was casued by that old retard that can't drive butit's still allowed to
      • 7 Years Ago
      How sad that all these people here are down on "old people" - sounds like the Nazis railing against the Jews in the 1920-30s, Shame on you! I really don't care if you don't wear seatbelts and read your text messages while tailgating and changing lanes at 110 mph. Just do it at night after us oldtimers are in bed. That gives us something to look forward to reading about in the newspaper next day, you morons.
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