Exploring Human Potential

Safe Driving For Seniors

Posted on | May 6, 2008 | 1 Comment

Why in-person driver’s license renewal might be a good ideaMore than 40,000 Americans die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Many of the drivers involved in these crashes are senior citizens. Statistics show that motor vehicle fatality rates among senior drivers are on the rise, particularly for those drivers who are 85 or older. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Drivers aged 65 and older …are expected to account for as much as 25 percent of total driver fatalities in 2030, compared to 14 percent currently."

That leaves us with a public health issue: As baby boomers age and more seniors get behind the wheel, how can we prevent rising fatalities?

Many states have looked for the answer in stricter license laws for elderly individuals. Among them: frequency of license renewal, whether license renewal must be in-person, and whether vision and road tests should be required.

Of these measures, research shows that only one offers a definitive preventive impact on senior fatalities: in-person renewal of motor vehicle licenses. The positive impact primarily affects those over 85.

Why should auto fatalities among very elderly drivers decline with in-person renewals? There are a variety of reasons, including the fact that in-person renewals tend to deter some seniors from seeking to renew. They tend to impose a limit on themselves when faced with this step.

Focusing on motor vehicle safety among seniors makes good sense. First, the elderly population is rapidly growing. Second, the elderly are the most vulnerable – they’re more likely to die from crash injuries. And third, solutions are relatively simple and not unduly harsh, such as in-person license renewal requirements for the oldest segment of the senior population. 

To learn more about various studies on this topic, and other interesting details about senior drivers, be sure to watch this week’s video, embedded with this blog post, or read the full transcript of the program, below. Then tell me about your own personal experiences with seniors behind the wheel. Are you a senior driver, or do you know of one? Does in-person renewal make sense to you? Your comments are always appreciated!

See Also

    This website from the Foundation for Traffic Safety offers safe driving tips and other valuable information for older drivers
  • Fatality Analysis
    The National Highway Safety Administration offers facts and figures on highway fatalities


One Response to “Safe Driving For Seniors”

  1. Daily Choice: Thursday, April 22, 2010 :
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