The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new five-year traffic safety plan and guidelines for older drivers and passengers.
The new strategic plan from NHTSA will serve as a roadmap to ensure the safety of the growing U.S. population of elderly drivers and passengers. Since 2003, the number of licensed drivers 65 and older have increased by 21 percent to 35 million in 2012. According to NHTSA, 5,560 older drivers died in accidents last year, while 214,000 were injured. Those figures represent a 3-percent increase in fatalities and a 16-percent increase in injuries.
“Safety is our highest priority and that includes ensuring the safety of our older drivers, who represent a growing population on our roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This plan will help enhance safety for everyone by helping states address the mobility needs of their older drivers.”
To address those concerns, NHTSA will focus on researching a number of advanced vehicle technologies including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, collision avoidance and crashworthiness to help enhance vehicle safety.
In addition, the government agency will refine its data collection systems to continue evaluating crash tests, real-world injuries, as well as physical, cognitive and perceptual changes associated with driver behaviors. NHTSA’s goal is to also conduct clinical and naturalistic driving studies to understand the effects of age-related medical conditions, such as dementia.