The logic behind the forum is that as our population of older adults increases, so to will auto-accidents.
So what did the national gathering of traffic safety and policy experts conclude? (Hint: hold onto your keys as long as you can, especially if you’re a woman.)
Though families fret endlessly about individual elderly drivers’ injuring themselves and others — and they’re right to be concerned — as a group, older drivers are doing better than they used to.
Anne McCartt, co-author of a recent report on older drivers by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pointed out that while highway deaths have dropped across the board, the decline in fatal crash involvement from 1997 to 2006 for drivers over 70 was much greater — 37 percent — than it was among drivers ages 35 to 54. Police data from 13 states also suggests that older drivers are involved less often in nonfatal injury crashes and in those causing only property damage.
The NYTimes goes on to report the data, “confounds experts’ expectations that more old drivers on the road would lead to greater mayhem. It’s not clear why this hasn’t happened.”
“It probably has something to do with the cohort,” Ms. Hersman said. “Folks are more healthy, more active and more active drivers” — less likely to crash and more likely to survive if they do.”
Among the other findings:
- Women have particular reason to stay behind the wheel as long as they can.
- It’s wrong to set age-specific restrictions for drivers — decisions should be made on an individual basis.