Statistics from 2015 NHTSA indicate that there were 6,165 people 65 and older killed and approximately 240,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Older people make up 18 percent of all traffic fatalities and 10 percent of all people injured in traffic crashes.
What are some of the reasons older drivers are at higher risk of causing traffic crashes?
Visual, cognitive and physical skills that affect driving ability decline with increasing age. Aging drivers often have difficulty seeing objects at dusk and in the evening. Judgment may become impaired, making them less able to react at higher speeds and make turns in front of oncoming traffic. Also, medical conditions such as arthritis or weakening muscles and joints can make it challenging to safely operate a vehicle. While most older adults compensate for these age-related health issues, some do not. It’s those who fail to compensate for physical or mental declines, and those who do not stop driving if their limitations cannot be addressed, who suffer a higher risk of causing crashes.
We all want aging family members and friends to stay safe and mobile whether they are in the drivers or passenger seat. Safe Drivers Smart Options offers information and resources to help everyone maintain lifelong mobility. For more information visit www.michigan.gov/agingdriver.