Studies have shown that driving gets riskier with age, but where a senior driver lives can also play a role in how dangerous it is.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 586 senior drivers are injured and 15 are killed in vehicle accidents in the U.S. every day. To help break that down, Caring.com has conducted a study to find the most dangerous states for senior drivers by comparing the number of seniors killed in car crashes in a particular state with that age group’s share of the state’s overall population.
As a result, it appears that driving laws for older adults play a major role in whether a state is safe or dangerous to drive in for the elderly. Population density also likely contributed to higher rates of senior driving deaths in the states.
In Delaware, seniors make up 16 percent of the state’s population. In 2014, however, according to data from NHTSA and the U.S. Census Bureau, 22 percent of those killed in vehicle accidents were 65 or older. Likely contributing to the greater ratio of deaths to population makeup are high population density, icy winters and the lack of stricter laws for elderly drivers.
The ninth most dangerous state in the U.S. for senior drivers is Washington. According to Caring.com, 20 percent of people killed in car accidents involved senior drivers while that age makes up 14 percent of the state’s population.
8. New Jersey
In 2014, the state of New Jersey had 556 people die from traffic-related accidents and over 21 percent of them were seniors. The age group makes up about 15 percent of New Jersey’s population, making it the eighth most dangerous state on the list.
Tourists worldwide may flock to Hawaii as a top vacation destination, but it’s also one of the most dangerous states for elderly drivers. Seniors represent 16 percent of the population, but about 23 percent of the people killed in traffic accidents were seniors. Hawaii is however, one of 31 states with stricter laws for older drivers, requiring more frequent license renewals starting at age 72.
Data shows that seniors account for 17 percent of the state’s population, but the age group was involved in 24 percent of car-related fatalities in 2014.
Although Idaho have relatively low population density and more frequent driver’s license renewals for the elderly, it’s still one of the deadliest states for senior drivers. The age group makes up 14 percent of the state’s population, but seniors were involved in 22 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities.
4. New York
New York is one of the most crowded states in the U.S., so it’s not a big surprise that it lands on the list of most dangerous states for senior drivers. Seniors accounted for 23 percent of the traffic-related fatalities in 2014, while making up 15 percent of the state’s population. Although public transportation is readily available in New York City, living in outlying suburbs such as Long Island causes seniors to get behind the wheel.
Wintry cold conditions make Minnesota one of the most dangerous states for senior drivers. In 2014, the age group made up 14 percent of the state’s population, but 23 percent of those killed in vehicle accidents were seniors.
In total, Maine had 131 traffic fatalities in 2014 and over 27 percent of those involved seniors. Even more alarming, seniors account for 18 percent of the population and even frequent vision tests for drivers over 40 have not been enough to keep roadways safe.
1. Rhode Island
It might be the smallest state in the U.S., but it’s also the most dangerous for senior drivers. Rhode Island’s seniors represent 16 percent of the state’s population, but seniors were involved in 35 percent of vehicle-related fatalities in 2014. This is despite a state law that requires more frequent driver’s license renewals for those over 75.