How big is the problem? In 2018, almost 7,700 older adults (aged 65+) were killed in traffic crashes, and more than 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries. This means that each day, more than 20 older adults are killed and almost 700 are injured in crashes.
Overall, the RAND study concluded that “younger drivers pose a much greater risk to traffic safety than do older drivers, both because they are likelier to cause a crash and because they drive many more miles.” The study also found that older drivers (who represent 15% of all licensed drivers) cause just 7% of all two-
Who is most at risk? The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16–19 than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times as likely as drivers aged 20 or older to be in a fatal crash.
Falls. The number one cause of fatal injury among seniors is from falls. An estimated one-third of seniors in the United States, age 65 and older, will experience a fall each year. These statistics are generated from reported falls – the actual number is likely much larger.
There were 33,244 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2019 in which 36,096 deaths occurred. This resulted in 11.0 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.11 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.
It turns out that a driver of a car 18 or more years old is 71 percent more likely to die in a bad crash than the driver of a car three years old or newer.
As expected, the prevalence of driving declined sharply with increasing age, ranging from 88% of men in their early 70s to 55% of those aged 85 years or older. Among women, the prevalence of driving ranged from 70% among those aged 70 to 74 years of age to 22% among those aged 85 years or older.
In 2020, the state of California reported around 3,723 motor-vehicle deaths, a slight increase from the year before.
More than 38,000 people die every year in crashes on U.S. roadways. The U.S. traffic fatality rate is 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. An additional 4.4 million are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. Road crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54.
Drivers ages 16-17 continue to have the highest rates of crash involvement, injuries to themselves and others and deaths of others in crashes in which they are involved. Drivers age 80 and older have the highest rates of driver deaths. Drivers ages 60-69 were the safest drivers by most measures examined.
Young drivers between 15- and 20-years-old accounted for 6.4% (13.2 million) of total drivers on the road. An average of nine teens ages 16-19 were killed every day from motor vehicle injuries. 2,739 drivers ages 15-20 were killed and an additional 228,000 were injured in crashes.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the safest drivers are in the age group between 64 and 69 years old.