“While driving ability declines with age for most people, those seniors who continue to drive appear to be safer drivers than the general public might think,” said David Loughran, a RAND senior economist and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School who is the lead author of the study. “By far, it is the youngest drivers who pose the greatest risk to traffic safety.”
Researchers found that in 2001, people 65 and older accounted for about 15 percent of all licensed drivers but caused only about 7 percent of all accidents in the United States. By contrast, people ages 15 to 24 accounted for just 13 percent of all licensed drivers, but caused 43 percent of all accidents.
Because senior citizens are generally in poorer health and more frail than younger people, drivers 65 and older are at much greater risk of serious injury or death when they do have an accident, according to the study by RAND, a nonprofit research organization. Senior drivers are nearly seven times more likely than younger drivers to be killed in a two-car accident.
“Seniors who drive pose a much larger risk to themselves than to others,” Loughran said. “As the U.S. population ages, injury rates will increase -- not because seniors cause more accidents, but because seniors are more vulnerable to injury when they get into an accident.”
It is projected that by 2025, drivers 65 and older will represent 25 percent of the driving population, compared with 14 percent in 2001. Previous research has shown that as people age, their driving ability becomes impaired.
“Seniors appear to make fairly sound decisions about when to reduce the amount they drive or stop driving altogether,” Loughran said. “Not only do seniors drive much less than younger drivers, but they drive at safer times during the day and avoid poorer road conditions.”
The study estimated accident risks by examining more than 330,000 fatal traffic accidents around the United States between 1975 and 2003 among drivers in three age groups: 15 to 24; 25 to 64; and 65 and older.
In response to an aging driving population, many states have imposed more stringent licensing requirements, such as in-person renewals and mandatory vision testing for senior drivers. While only Illinois and New Hampshire require older drivers to take a road test, several recent high-profile accidents involving older drivers have caused legislators in a number of states to consider tightening licensing requirements for older drivers.
The study argues that it is costly to both states and seniors to impose more stringent age-based licensing requirements and that the benefits of doing so have not been rigorously validated. Instead, the study concludes that more accidents could be prevented and lives saved by improving car and road design to make auto travel safer for older drivers and passengers.
“Policies that lead to improvements in overall traffic safety will have much larger impacts on injury rates than will efforts to identify the relatively small number of older drivers whose licenses should be revoked,” Loughran said.
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences