Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-1165
2007-04-16

Drivers Involved in Crashes Killing Older Road Users 2007-01-1165

5, 032 people aged 70 or older were killed on US roads in 2005. Of these, 827 were drivers killed in single-vehicle crashes. The remaining 4, 205 were all killed in crashes involving at least one other driver. While a vast body of literature has focused on older drivers, this paper addresses the other drivers involved in the crashes that account for 84% of the deaths of road users 70 and over. The other drivers can be placed into three categories.
  1. 1.
    Drivers of vehicles involved in crashes in which pedestrians aged 70 or older are killed.
  2. 2.
    Drivers involved in two-vehicle crashes in which drivers aged 70 or older are killed.
  3. 3.
    Drivers of vehicles in which passengers aged 70 or older are killed, and drivers of vehicles involved in crashes with vehicles transporting such passengers.
Analysis using data for 2000-2005 finds that 89% of pedestrian fatalities aged 70 or older occurred in crashes in which the driver was aged 69 or younger. For all categories combined it is found that 77% of the crashes that annually kill more than 5, 000 road users aged 70 or older involve a driver 69 or younger. Countermeasures that target older road users specifically have limited potential. Reducing crash risk for drivers who are not old has far greater potential to reduce casualties to the elderly. To do so requires the US to adopt effective traffic safety policies and abandon its present focus on methods that have been shown repeatedly to not work. Effective policies are available, proven, and already saving large numbers of lives of road users of all ages outside the US.

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