Older drivers are living longer and also driving longer, but the fears of senior citizens causing a mass of fatal car accidents may just be misguided. According to new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal car accidents, involving older drivers, have actually declined markedly in the past decade.
“It’s not what people had expected to see,” said Dr. Anne T. McCartt, senior vice president for research at the insurance institute. “There were some studies, including our own research, that had predicted older driver crashes would become a bigger and bigger problem.”
Older people are living longer than they ever have before, and while fatal auto accidents have declined across all demographics, the statistical rates are falling the fastest amongst the older drivers. From 1997 to 2006, the annual decline in fatal car accidents for drivers ages 70 to 74 was 0.55 deadly auto accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers, and for those over 80, the car accident statistics were 1.33. Older drivers are also less likely to cause drunk-driving (DUI) accidents. In 2007, just six percent of drivers over 70, who died in car accidents, had blood-alcohol levels (BAC) above the legal limit, compared to 41 percent of drivers aged 16 to 59.
This is a stark contrast to preconceptions that most people have of older drivers, and the Insurance Institute is equally shocked and searching for explanations.
“We’re intent on doing research to try to figure out why we’re seeing this,” Dr. McCartt said. “It’s certainly a possibility that older drivers compared to 10 or 20 years ago are in better condition in various ways.”
One particular cause for this could be the improved health of senior citizens. Since people are in fact living longer, they are also healthier at the age of 70. As auto accident attorneys, these new car accident statistics are fantastic. It is nice to prove that older drivers are not the roadway liability that some believe. Instead, it is just the opposite! Another great sign is that deadly car accident statistics have declined across all ages.
Our car accident lawyers believe that these trends continue downward in the future, and that people remain cautious on the road. Until car accident statistics are down to zero, we will continue to do our part spreading the word about road safety.
Please contact us for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney — we speak both English and Spanish — at (800) 655-6585. Click here and you may also submit your case for a Free Review. No fee if no recovery.