Older drivers are less likely to be killed, injured or involved in an automobile accident than previous generations according to a new report by the IIHS.
It says the two main reasons for this change have to do with older folks (age 70 and older) being generally healthier, along with vehicles being safer. From 1997-2012, fatal crash rates fell 42 percent for elderly drivers while the same time period saw a drop of only 30 percent for middle age drivers (age 35-54). The results for non-fatal crashes were virtually the same, though the trend towards the elderly being involved in less accidents has been tapering off recently.
“This should help ease fears that aging baby boomers are a safety threat,” IIHS research senior vice president Anne McCartt said. “Even crashes among the oldest drivers have been on a downswing.”
While it is true that older drivers travel less than other age groups, the 75-and-older group increased their average annual mileage almost 50 percent from 1995 to 2008 and the average distance continues to grow.
This is evidence that as the elderly stay healthy longer, they are more physically and mentally comfortable with operating vehicles. Further backing this up, license holders aged 75 and over increased from 73 to 79 percent between 1997 and 2012.
With the number of people 70 and older expected to more than double by 2015, from 29 million to 64 million, these findings are more important than ever.