Older Drivers Pose Less Risk Than Younger Drivers

RAND study finds elderly drive less but are injured more

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Older drivers are less likely to cause a traffic accident than the youngest drivers, but older drivers are more likely to be killed when they are in an accident, according to a RAND Corporation study released July 18.

David S. Loughran, a RAND senior economist, and colleagues analyzed fatal U.S. accident data between 1975 and 2003 in relation to three age groups: older drivers (65 and older), adult drivers (25 to 64) and younger drivers (15 to 24). They found that older drivers were 16 percent more likely to cause an accident than adult drivers while younger drivers were 188 percent more likely to cause an accident than adult drivers.

However, because of their relative frailty, older drivers were nearly seven times more likely than adult drivers and their passengers to be killed in an accident. The study also found that older people drive an average of 38 percent fewer miles than adult drivers, while younger people drive about 54 percent more miles than adult drivers.

"Altogether, these findings suggest that state DMVs should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of imposing stricter licensing requirements on older drivers," the study concludes.

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