As Americans are driving longer, the number of senior drivers beyond 65 years old is increasing as well. Unfortunately, a new report has unveiled certain facts about deadly accidents involving senior drivers in the US.
Their mission is to enhance awareness and encourage authorities to start protecting senior drivers from traffic fatalities.
According to TRIP, a non-profit transportation research group, the number of traffic fatalities involving drivers 65 years old or older has increased 22% between 2012 and 2016. This research also specifies that the number of seniors drivers killed in those car accidents increased by 16% countrywide.
Those are alarming figures but this report covers an analysis of traffic fatalities by state.
For example, Maryland has found an increase in the overall number of traffic fatalities involving senior drivers. In a four-year window, there was a 33% increase in the total number of deadly accidents involving senior drivers.
On the other hand, the state of Virginia saw an 11% decrease in the number of senior drivers involved in traffic fatalities. As a matter of fact, The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that there are more than 40 million Americans age 65 or over.
Other factors impacting senior drivers
This research also identified that the number of licensed senior drivers increased 38% in the last decade.
Rocky Moretti, Director of Policy and Research at TRIP, commented:
As we all age, there are likely to be some decreases in our [driving] ability, whether it’s eyesight or reaction, and older drivers tend to take that into account.
That said, Moretti suggests that senior drivers tend to be more conscious about their ability to drive and proceed cautiously. He also suggested that the increased number of senior drivers could encourage local state governments to make the roads safer.
The report also spotlights the evident changes in the health of senior drivers in the US. Senior drivers are getting healthier and having a more active life compared to previous generations. This change is closely aligned to their mobility.
The report also estimates that 79% of senior people live in vehicle-dependent suburban and rural areas.
How can this report help senior drivers?
Knowing the facts leads to action. By implication, TRIP highlights major transportation updates and improvements. Those changes include: clearer signage, re-painting lane marks, powering overhead lighting, and more visible intersection designs.
TRIP argues that applying those improvements will not only benefit senior drivers, but also everyone driving along the road.
Addressing this need to improve traffic safety is going to require transportation agencies having the resources necessary to make those improvements. Congress could take a significant step in increasing safety for older drivers, by boosting transportation funding by identifying a sustainable, adequate source of transportation revenue.
At the same time, TRIP will keep promoting their educational driving programs and other driving awareness campaigns for older drivers. Their goal is to improve the lives of senior Americans as much as possible.