In 2019, 73 percent of people killed in crashes involving drivers 70 or older were either the older drivers themselves (59 percent) or their older passengers (14 percent).
The study finds that older drivers, who represent 15 percent of all licensed drivers, cause 7 percent of all two-car accidents (both fatal and nonfatal).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Key Points of This Article: Older drivers cause accidents most often by missing traffic lights and signs at busy intersections, driving the wrong way, and pose extra dangers by driving impaired by medications or when vision is hindered.
The proportion of the 70-and-older population with licenses went from 73 percent in 1997 to 83 percent in 2019.
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.
The leading cause of accidental death for older drivers is a car crash. During the 1990’s, people over 85 were the fastest growing group of drivers in the United States. By 2030, twenty percent of Americans will be over 65.
Drivers age 80 and older have the highest rates of driver deaths.
The over-65 age group had the highest number of fatalities followed by the 16-to-20 age group among females. In addition, the 46-to-50 age group among males had the greatest increase in fatality rate.
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.
According to the research, elderly drivers are no more dangerous behind the wheel than motorists as a whole, and they’re far safer on the road than young men too.
While age alone doesn’t make someone a bad driver, some older people do put themselves and others at risk every time they get in a car. The American Geriatrics Society reports that driving skills generally start to fade after age 75 (and sometimes as early as age 60).