Elderly Driving Statistics

Driving means independence, but staying safe is important.

Are you concerned about elderly driving statistics because of a loved one? Learn the statistics for elderly driving in the United States here.

Information on Elderly Driving Statistics

The number of elderly drivers is increasing in the U.S. due to the Baby Boomers generation. In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 30 million people over the age of 65 were licensed drivers in the U.S. This is 15 percent of all licensed drivers, which may be more than what you thought.

Sadly, the National Highway Traffic Administration also reported there were 6,017 people over 65 killed in an automobile while driving in 2006. This is 14 percent of all individuals killed in automobile accidents. One of the reasons for this high number of fatalities is because compared to younger drivers, older people are less likely to survive a crash due to injuries.

Many people wonder if these older Americans are involved in fatal automobile accidents during the night since it's much more difficult to see. The truth is that in 2006, 81 percent of the accidents that lead to death involving a person over the age of 65 happened during the day.

When another vehicle is involved in a crash, approximately 72 percent of the time, the older person is much more likely to be hit than a younger person. This may be due to several factors including slower driving or driving out into traffic.

How Getting Older Affects Driving

Many physical changes are involved that affect driving in older people. Not all seniors have these characteristics, but these are some of the reasons why the elderly are more prone to car crashes.

  • Slower reaction time
  • Depth perception changes (another car seems farther or closer than it really is)
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Decreased ability to focus
  • Feelings of nervousness and anxiety
  • Medical problems

What Driving Means to Your Loved One

Driving provides an older person with a sense of independence. Seniors can go where they want, when they want, without having to rely on others. Some elderly individuals already feel as if they are a burden to their friends and family, so they do not want to place an additional inconvenience upon them, even if told it won't be any trouble.

How to Speak to Your Loved One about Elderly Driving Statistics

Even though you may not want to take away this privilege from your loved one, you fear he or she is in danger of hurting him- or herself or someone else on the road. You will not be able to take the car keys or vehicle from your loved one without permission, so you will have to help your loved one come to the conclusion driving is no longer safe. Here are some ways you might want to try to encourage a senior about driving safely.

  • Gather support

The more people you can get to join in your discussion with your loved one, the more power you will have in talking to him or her.

  • Encourage a physical exam

A physical exam will help you and your family member or friend know for sure if there was any issue that may interfere with operating a vehicle.

  • Use statistics

Sometimes the shock of statistics can help your loved one see the dangers of being out on the road, especially when it isn't always the older person who causes the accident but someone hitting him or her.

  • Offer to drive

Your friend or family member may accept a ride somewhere if offered. Try to find out what the person's schedule is and ask if he or she would like a ride to and from the appointment.

Respect Your Loved One

Remain respectful to your loved one while you are talking to him or her about operating a vehicle. This is a sensitive subject, and some older people will not want to give up driving. Show your concern, offer to drive and encourage the individual to find alternate forms of transportation whenever possible.

If a senior you know does not want to stop driving and he or she has passed the driving requirements with the Department of Motor Vehicles, all you can do is respect your friend or family member's wishes.

Elderly Driving Statistics