Many of us take being able to drive for granted. Once we grow out of the early stages of first getting behind the wheel, driving becomes second nature. However, as we age and begin to lose dexterity, driving can quickly become dangerous. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33 million licensed drivers in 2009 were over 65. That same research predicts that by 2030, 70 million Americans will be over 65, and 90 percent of elderly drivers will be licensed.
Many states implement regulations for elderly drivers to try and minimize the risk of accidents. This often entails requiring elderly individuals take driving tests more frequently than other drivers. However, in Kentucky there are no specific driving regulations for elderly drivers. Every driver must renew their license every four years regardless of their age.
Statistics on Elderly Drivers
Read more below for some noteworthy statistics about elderly driving to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
About 30 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers age 65-plus occur at intersections.
Adults 65-plus are over-represented in the number of traffic deaths compared with the rest of the U.S. population.
Other than teen drivers, elderly drivers have the highest crash death rater per mile driven, even though they drive less than young drivers.
The fatality rater for elderly drivers is 17 times higher than the rate of drivers between the ages of 25-64.
80 percent of individuals in their 70s suffer from arthritis, inflammation, or other issues that make driving painful and uncomfortable.
Over 75 percent of elderly drivers above the age of 65 are using one or more medications, but less than one-third of them recognized the potential complications that could arise while driving on medication.
In 2015, elderly drivers accounted for 8 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes.
These statistics are helpful in understanding common trends with elderly drivers. But, not all elderly drivers are putting themselves or others in danger. There has also been research that shows lower rates of accidents for elderly drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute published data in February 2014 that showed elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in a crash, and less likely to be injured or killed. While the amount is decreasing, elderly drivers still have the highest rate of fatal crashes of any age group
Safety on The Road
There are many ways you can work to avoid accidents on the road.
Have your vision and hearing checked on a regular basis.
Don’t drive under the influence of any medication, unless you have direct approval from your doctor.
Avoid driving late at night and during any kind of inclement weather.
Plan out the route you will take before you leave the house.
Avoid anything that could distract you while you’re driving. Don’t answer your cellphone, and avoid adjusting the radio station while the vehicle is in motion.
Exercise frequently to build strength and flexibility.
If you or a loved one is beginning to experience difficulty with everyday activities such as driving, it may be time to look into home care services. All Best Home Care offers a wide variety of home care services for elderly individuals. Call (502) 456-2273 today to learn more about the help we can provide.