In 2011, there were 34 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. Over the next 15 years, the population of Americans 65 and older is expected to grow by 60%. Most have enjoyed many years of cautious and responsible driving. However, statistics show that the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases with age. On average, 500 older adults are injured every day as occupants of motor vehicles. Thankfully, there are steps that older adults can take to stay safer on the roads while still maintaining their independence. Whether it is time to learn new strategies to deal with upcoming challenges behind the wheel, or time to seek out new and reliable modes of transportation, there are many options for seniors to safely stay on the move.
Maryland Fast Facts:
- In 2011, there were a total of 72 older driver-involved fatal crashes, which accounted for 16% of all fatal crashes in Maryland.
- 47.1% of fatal crashes involving older drivers occurred on roads with a posted speed limit of 40 mph or less.
- On average, 40% of older drivers killed are 70-79 years old and 68% are male.
- Property-damage-only crashes accounted for 57% of the total older driver involved crashes.
- Between 2007–2011, on average, 65% of the fatal and 69% of the total older driver involved crashes occurred between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm.
- There was a yearly average of 3,525 at-fault drivers (as identified by the police accident report) involved in serious injury or fatal crashes during the five-year period 2007 through 2011. Of those, approximately 9% were identified as older drivers.
- Older drivers who are identified as at-fault in serious injury or fatal crashes were less likely to have been speeding, driving aggressively, or impaired than their younger counterparts. However, older drivers have 'failure to yield right of way' identified as a primary or secondary contributing circumstance to the crash much more frequently than those 64 years of age or younger.
*Crash data source: State Highway Administration Safety Information Database
- More than 189,000 older adults were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. This amounts to 500 older adults being injured in a crash every day.
- Most traffic fatalities involving older drivers in 2010 occurred during the daytime (77%), occurred on weekdays (71%), and involved other vehicles (66%).
- Older drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 had the lowest proportion of intoxication of all adult drivers.
- In two-vehicle fatal crashes involving an older driver and a younger driver, the vehicle driven by the older person was nearly twice as likely to be the one that was struck.
In Maryland, the law requires a vision test at every license renewal for all citizens age 40 and above. Please visit the Insurance Institute for Highway safety's website on licensing renewal provisions for older drivers for additional information.