Are Older Drivers Actually Less Likely to Cause Medley Car Accidents?
Many news stories involving elderly drivers involved in car accidents focus on the driver’s age. For example, when a man from Apollo Beach was in a motorcycle accident this month, the news stories often focused on the fact that he was 100 years old. When a woman crashed into a Chinese restaurant this month, mistaking her gas pedal and brake, it was widely noted that she was 80 years old.
Stories like these lead many to assume that older drivers are susceptible to car accidents. After all, the elderly are susceptible to many conditions, such as dementia and vision problems, which can significantly impact driving ability. However, a new study suggests that older drivers have comparatively fewer accidents when compared with younger drivers.
According to new numbers from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the 2010 crash rate for drivers age 80 and over in the state was 90 per 10,000. This compared favorably with a crash rate of 347 per 10,000 for drivers in the 15-24 age range. According to some experts, this may be because older drivers tend to drive a little slower and more cautiously. Some experts also suggest that extensively driving experience helps elderly drivers stay safer on the roads. A few experts have critiqued the numbers by noting that the elderly may drive fewer miles when compared with younger drivers, which may possibly impact the crash rate.
What is certain is that the issue of elderly drivers is an important one for the state. In the past five years, the number of drivers in the state who are 71 years or older has increase to 1.8 million – a jump of almost 100, 000. Since 2007, the number of Florida drivers who are 90 years of age has increased by almost 28%, with almost 65,000 Floridians age 90 or above on the roads today. Some counties, such as Hillsborough County, have an even higher rate of elderly drivers. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, there are over 455 Florida drivers who are aged 100 or older.
The recent studies suggest that Medley car accident caused by elderly drivers are perhaps not as prevalent as public perception suggests, but there are still many initiatives in place to help elderly drivers maintain their independence while having a low risk of Medley traffic accidents.
Current research is also being done at the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies to determine how to prevent Medley personal injury among elderly drivers. Researchers there have determine that cognitive ability rather than age and other factors are what matter when it comes to driving ability and safety. That research supports the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles numbers in suggesting that elderly drivers are safer than many believe.