Auto accidents involving elderly motorists are on the decline nationwide. That information comes via a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The report finds that these numbers are down, in spite of the fact that there are more elderly motorists on the roads now, than there were in the past.
It’s not surprising that we continue to share our roads with more numbers of senior motorists. Not only do Americans live longer lives than in the past couple of decades, but senior citizens these days live active, busy and independent lives. This means that they are mobile, and drive themselves around regularly. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that the average number of miles driven by the typical senior motorist increased from just over 6,000 in the mid-1999 to over 9,000 miles a year by the 2000s.
However, the fact that there are more elderly motorists out there has not translated into higher accident rates. In fact, the numbers show that crash rates involving senior motorists have actually dropped by approximately 37%. In fact, the biggest drop in fatal accident rates has been seen in senior motorists above the age of 80 whose fatal accident rates have dropped by a whopping 47%.
The researchers are at a loss to explain exactly what has caused this decline. As a Missouri accident lawyer, I believe that there are a number of factors to thank for this. First of all, automobiles are much safer than they used to be in the past couple of decades. More cars now come equipped with side airbags, Electronic Stability Control Systems and other safety features that reduce the chances of serious accidents like rollovers. Besides, elderly citizens enjoy better health than in the past. You’re much more likely to avoid accidents and injuries, if you’re physically and mentally sound. There’s also the fact that there have been major advancements made in emergency trauma care. This means that elderly motorists in Missouri are less likely to die from catastrophic injuries.