Older drivers no more dangerous than younger drivers, studies claim.

women driving car

I came across a fascinating article published by the BBC sharing a comprehensive case study undertaken by Swansea University. The study was produced to show us that the older generation are not the most dangerous age demographic of car drivers on the roads.

Drivers aged 70 and over are involved in 3-4 times fewer accidents than 17-21 year old men. Young men are more likely to be involved in incidents resulting from driving too fast and losing control, I can’t imagine you are surprised with the statistic that young male (boy racers) car drivers are most prone to speeding!

Accident demographics

There is an increase in accidents among the over-75 age group, which Prof Musselwhite puts down to increasing physical frailty.

Older and younger drivers are also involved in different types of accident. While young men are more likely to be involved in single vehicle incidents, most typically caused by speeding and losing control, older people tend to have smaller impact collisions.

Older women are more likely to have small accidents when doing various tight manoeuvres. Older people are also more likely to be involved in accidents involving other older drivers, suggesting they make similar errors.

The most accident-prone age group, by a substantial margin, is young men. 17 to 21 year-olds are three to four times more likely to have an accident than 70 year-olds.

Road safety concerns

Road safety concerns have prompted discussion about the controversial topic of re-testing older drivers. Such programmes have been conducted in other countries like Australia and Denmark without improving results.

If re-testing older drivers did get introduced in the UK. An important thing to consider would be the effect it would have on the older generations if they lost their independence. Older people say they need to drive for the feeling of freedom and mobility, to feel useful and have a role in the family. Taking away driving licences can lead to depression and loss of mobility.

Counterargument

All of the stats above make solid points in order to make a case for older drivers not being the most dangerous age demographic; but I have a counterargument.

The case study has not taken into account the fact that nearly 25% of all car accidents are caused by occupants using a mobile phone. Not to be ageist, but the older generation are much less inclined to use a mobile phone while driving (that’s the smart choice) because maybe there phones lack the technology to use 3G for example. What I’m trying to say is.. If this statistic was not taken into account for the total number of car accidents. Then, I’m pretty certain older drivers will be deemed more dangerous than any other age demographic. 25% is quite a large figure.

The moral of the story is we need to give older drivers less stick and concentrate on our own driving!

New research from Swansea University challenges the idea that older people are dangerous drivers.

Analysis of data on vehicle accidents showed that drivers aged 70 are involved in 3-4 times fewer accidents than 17-21 year old men.

© http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37292951

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