Are Older Drivers A Greater Accident Risk?
A recent opinion piece in the Virginian-Pilot looked at the difficult issue of whether older drivers should be on the roads.
Writer Roger Chesley highlighted a report by Columbia University and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It found older drivers who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility than older people who keep driving. The study targeted adults aged 65 and over.
The study makes it clear it’s desirable for the drivers themselves to stay on the roads. But what about other drivers and passengers? There is also a powerful body of evidence that older drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident.
“Most fundamentally, what we’re saying is we should do everything possible to keep people driving safely as long as possible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA foundation in the Pilot article.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety puts the number of accidents involving older drivers into perspective.
“Older drivers have low rates of police-reported crash involvements per capita; their per capita fatal crash rates begin to increase at age 70,” the report states.
Crash rates and fatal crash rates also start rising rapidly at about the age of 70. The report makes it clear that older drivers generally travel fewer annual miles than most other age groups and, similar to low-mileage drivers of other ages. They tend do most of their driving in city driving conditions.
“In contrast, drivers who accumulate more miles tend to drive more on freeways or divided multi-lane roads, which generally have much lower crash rates than other types of roads. Hence, the elevated crash rates for older drivers when measured per mile traveled may be somewhat inflated due to the type of driving they do,” stated the report.
Insurance property damage liability claims that are filed when an at-fault driver damages someone else’s property, provide further information. Collision coverage insures one’s own vehicle against the loss caused by a crash. Drivers aged 60-64 have the lowest rates of property damage liability claims and collision claims per insured vehicle year. The rates for older drivers start increasing after about age 65, and rise above rates for middle-aged drivers at about the age of 80. However, older drivers’ insurance claim rates are much lower than rates for the youngest drivers.
Recently Virginia targeted stricter new standards for older drivers. If you have been hurt in an accident caused by an older driver, you may have grounds to make a claim for your injuries against that driver’s insurance policy. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.