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Everyone knows that driving drunk is a horrible idea, but that message doesn’t seem to be hitting home when it comes to smoking pot and driving.
We all know the side effects of speeding – tickets, loss of points, perhaps even ending up in an accident. Now a new Canadian study shows that driving decreases life expectancy.
For all you drivers with heavy feet, the study presents some eye-opening facts. It determines that every hour you spend behind the wheel leads to a 20-minute loss of life expectancy (this is due to the risks of a fatal car crash). But here’s the good news – it also found that by slowing down just two miles per hour, the average driver would increase their life expectancy by three hours per year. Sure, it may not seem like much, but it all adds up in the end.
“When drivers speed to get to their destination faster, they actually lose more time because the savings from faster travel are offset by the increased prospect of a crash,” says Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the lead investigator in the study.
Make small changes to your driving habits and reap big rewards. By showing down just 2 mph, it would translate to approximately 3 million fewer property-damage crashes, one million fewer injurious crashes, and 9,000 fewer fatalities. In dollars, it could reduce crash-related property damage by about $10 million each day – not too shabby for adding a couple of minutes onto your drive time.
Researchers based their findings on a combination of computerized traffic modeling, national statistics covering driving on public roadways, and the laws of physics. Results were calculated by the computer model by taking into account average distances and time drivers in the United States spend traveling daily, the number of annual crashes categorized as fatal, injuries and property damage, and the expected time losses due to accidents.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Forget all the jokes you’re heard about senior drivers. A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that fatal crash rates have dropped significantly with elderly drivers.
This report found that fatal car crashes for elderly drivers over 70 years old from 1997 to 2008 dropped dramatically by 37 percent. Even drivers who were over 80 years old were staying safe – the crash rates this group fell by almost half. For the rest of you young whipper snappers aged 35 to 54, you didn’t fare quite as well – the rates for this age group only dropped by 23 percent.
Even when it came to crashes that involved injuries, seniors over 80 years old came out ahead, declining 34 percent from 1997 to 2005 – that’s pretty good, especially when compared to a 16-percent decline for the 35 to 54 age group (those kids are always in a hurry to get somewhere). Senior drivers also saw a drop in crashes that involved property damage with no injuries, which were down 20 percent.
As for the results of this survey, the drops in car accident rates could stem from seniors who are policing their own driving behaviours – this could mean less driving or giving up their car altogether. Also helping keep elderly drivers safe are the polices put into place by 18 states, which include vision tests for older drivers, shorter licensing renewal periods, and prohibiting renewal by mail or electronically. And don’t forget that better health and physical conditioning may result in fewer crashes and help seniors fare better in accidents.
So any previous worries of having a large, aging population on the road seem to be less serious than once thought. However, no studies have been commissioned on the concern about the number of indicator signals that threaten to left on for miles and miles by this growing demographic – we’ll just have to continue to be annoyed until the issue is tackled.
[Source: Consumer Reports]