Seniors Driving More, Crashing & Dying Less

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook...

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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Though older drivers are often forced to choose between safety and mobility due to a lack of transportation options, they’re apparently doing something right. Recently, experts revealed that seniors are crashing and dying in automobile accidents less than ever before, even though they’re hitting the road more.

Why the improvement? That isn’t exactly clear, according to researcher Anne McCartt of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But in an article online at AARP.org, McCartt cites the fact that, in general, older drivers’ health seems to be improving—which could account for increased driving time and fewer deaths.

This is also good news, as Baby Boomers begin turning 65 this month and, within 15 years, more than one in five drivers will be 65 or over.

Smarter cars and better designed roads may keep us all on the road as we age, experts say. But eventually most people will outlive their driving ability—men by an average of six years and women by an average of 10 years. As this occurs and health declines, we could become prisoners in our own homes, due to immobility.

But for now, studies show the elderly are continuing to drive well into old age.

Older drivers are more frail and less likely to survive an accident or recover from injuries, according to the institute. However, many compensate for the erosion of their driving abilities by changing their driving habits.

Hopefully, as time marches on, this will continue. And if the rest of us would take a lesson from the aged, maybe we’d all live longer out on the roads.

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