1996-02-01

Significance of Intersection Crashes for Older Drivers 960457

As the driving population ages, there is a need to understand the accident patterns of older drivers. Previous research has shown that side impact collisions, usually at an intersection, are a serious problem for the older driver in terms of injury outcome. This study compares the frequency of side impact, intersection collisions of different driver age groups using state and national police-reported accident data as well as an in-depth analysis of cases from a fatal accident study. All data reveal that the frequency of intersection crashes increases with driver age. The state and national data show that older drivers have an increase frequency of intersection crashes involving vehicles crossing paths prior to the collision compared to their involvement in all crash types. When taking into account traffic control devices at an intersection, older drivers have the greatest involvement of multiple vehicle crashes at a signed intersection. The fatal cases of belted drivers exhibited similar trends. The data reveal concerns about the older driver at intersections, an area of complex information processing and decision making. The results suggest areas of accidents avoidance to ease the demands on the older driver.

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