More Senior Drivers to Hit the Road By 2030
In 2015, over 40 million licensed drivers age 65 and older hit our roadways. Today, there are about 42 million people over 65 in the U.S., which comprise approximately 14 percent of the population. By 2030, it is expected that more than 60 million older adults could be hitting the road. The Census estimates that by 2020, their population will reach nearly 55 million and by 2030, about 72 million.
There are different views about the driving abilities of senior drivers. It has been perceived that older drivers have higher rates of fatal crashes than any other group except young drivers. According to traffic safety analysts, they are at risk because of their vision or other health issues that most likely impair their driving skills.
Meanwhile, state legislatures have become reluctant in imposing restrictions and additional requirements, such as road or vision tests. This is based from recent studies which concluded that older people are generally considered safe drivers. Also, AARP, a group of advocates for seniors and motorists, believe that driving is about the ability and health of the driver and not their age; thus, age should not be used to solely gauge an older person’s fitness to drive.
- Involvement in fatal crashes is highest among drivers age 85 and older.
- In 2014, over 5,700 older adults were killed and more than 236,000 were injured. This resulted to 16 older adults killed and 648 injured in crashes on average every day.
- Also in 2014, drivers between the ages of 65 and 75 who were involved in deadly crashes accounted for 10 percent of all drivers having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above.
Safety Tips for Senior Drivers
While Kentucky requires motorists to renew their driver’s licenses in person every four years, it imposes no additional requirements or special provisions for senior drivers. In fact, in 2011, the state legislature rejected a proposal that would require drivers age 80 and above to obtain a doctor’s approval for license renewals.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I cannot overlook the fact that as we age, our vision and hearing skills naturally weaken. So, how do we tell grandma or grandpa to stay safe on the road? You may initiate a conversation with them and discuss this matter. If they insist on driving, convince them to exercise regularly to boost their strength. Likewise, it would be great to accompany them in visiting an eye doctor at least once a year. And if they are to drive, allow them only during daylight and in good weather.