• Dec 23, 2008
Seniors over the age of 70 have long been associated with unsafe driving, with death rates steadily increasing as more elderly hit the road. At least that's what we thought. A new study by IIHS shows that the death rate of elderly drivers has declined by 21 during that time. Time behind the wheel has increased as well, with seniors logging far more miles than they have in the past. Some reasons for the decline include healthier, more fit seniors and safer drivers. State governments have also been more diligent in getting unfit seniors off the road with regular skills tests. One study shows that seniors are increasingly aware of the dangers of driving, and limiting drive time at night and on the interstate.

[Source: Kicking Tires]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The idea that seniors cause more accidents is borne of deflection by young males who in fact cause the most accidents. All people need more testing to ensure that they are fit to drive. If a senior is having dementia or some other age related problem that makes them unfit to drive then they should have their license revoked but until then, let them drive. They're far safer on the road that teenagers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is yet another example of misleading statistics. Notice that they mentioned 'deaths' not accidents. My guess would be that overall driving fatalities are down due to safety technology (airbags, ABS, etc.) and advances in medicine and trauma treatment. The real question would be the incidence of accidents involving and caused by seniors. As a social worker who has spent the last 3 years working with seniors and disabled, I've been pretty horrified by what I've seen and heard. There are people on the road with Alzheimer's who have no idea what they are doing or where they are going because their children don't have the guts for a confrontation over the car keys. It sucks to take away a person's independence but when they jeopardize the safety of others, there is really no choice at all.

      If you think the DMV is doing a good job of keeping unsafe drivers off the road, I've got some Enron stock and some swamp land I'd love to make you a deal on.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Does Kirk Kerkorian still drive?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "One study shows that seniors are increasingly aware of the dangers of driving, and limiting drive time at night and on the interstate."

      In my grandfather's case, this is certainly true.

      At 87, he is still a good driver -- heck, up until a couple of years ago, he was still driving 200-300 miles a day for the local Senior Services agency -- but he retired after having heart bypass surgery, realizing that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't up to the day-to-day grind any longer.

      He still drives around town and takes Grandma on the occasional shopping trip, but he knows his limitations. No night driving, and nothing more than 45 miles or so.
        • 6 Years Ago
        thanks to your grandpa there is an example of what seniors should thinks about. "He still drives around town and takes Grandma on the occasional shopping trip, but he knows his limitations." i do think that old people shouldn't drive at all but i think some seniors should be tested as to what capabilities they still have and be allowed to drive. good drives will make almost for certain good "old drivers", but then bad drivers could become awful drivers with the coming of old age.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose.
      • 6 Years Ago
      it's because they are never going fast enough to have a deadly crash...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn, ya' beat me to it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if the furniture in that woman's house matches the upholstery in that car!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with everyone who knows that this statistic is ridiculous. Of course someone driving 20 in a 35 isn't going to be involved in a fatal crash. The problem ones do, however, cause others to get impatient behind them and go to pass, even if there's no passing. The same drivers also take up 2 lanes at once and just change lanes for no apparent reason and without warning or checking if said lane is open. Then they'll slam their brakes to make a turn at 2 mph that should be taken at 15 or 20 mph, further backing up traffic and causing more impatience behind them.

      The Secretary of State/DMV is also useless. No one there cares about whether or not people should be allowed to drive, just pay your fee and get processed. Last time I renewed my license, they allowed an older lady to take the vision test 4 times until she passed. I wouldn't want to be within 100 yards of her as she's driving her minivan or Buick Roadmaster along the road at 1/2 speed, using 2 lanes as one, then turning left from the right lane.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The secret is clear. Drive a right hand drive vehicle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can't get killed in an accident travelling 5 mph, unless it's head on with a car coming you way at 80 mph. They don't get into accidents because everyone that's driving at a normal speed has to avoid them, and then they get into deadly accidents.

      Seniors serve a purpose. Without them, there would be no one to buy the Buicks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live in an area with a good number of elderly people and thus elderly drivers and I can tell you that although they often drive slowly they frequently do not stop at signs, look when emerging from driveways or changing lanes). I have been hit, reversed into, and had innumerable near misses. Once again statistics do not tell the whole story, older drivers may be in fewer crashes with fatalities but there is no doubt in my mind they are involved in many accidents of the non lethal variety, and on the freeway likely cause other accidents due to their actions and lack of thorough blind spot checking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does this include deaths due to running over pedestrians and driving through markets and parks?

      Mr. Ed. add to that physical limitation, reduced mobility that effectively increases reaction time (e.g. arthritis), or the inability to react appropriately (e.g. unable to put the brake to floor). Should someone who needs 2 canes to walk be allowed to drive?

      My Grandparents also willingly gave up their licenses, they were so happy afterwords. They got driven around everywhere by taxi, for about the same that it cost to run the car.
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