General Motors R&D Department.

Although there is an ever increasing literature on older drivers, there is not available a comprehensive up-to-date epidemiologic presentation of the salient characteristics of how older drivers are impacted by traffic safety, and how they impact road safety for others. This paper presents preliminary results for such an undertaking, using data through 1996. The approach is to examine how many different measures (fatalities, fatalities per licensed driver, etc) depend on age and gender. Risks drivers pose to other road users are estimated by driver involvement in pedestrian fatality crashes. It is found that renewing the license of a 70-year-old male driver for another year poses, on average, 40% less risk to other road users than renewing the license of a 40-year-old male driver. The fatality risks drivers themslves face generally increase as they age, with the increased risk of death in the same severity crash being a major contributor. If this factor is removed, crash risks for 70-year-old male drivers are not materially higher than for 40-year-old male drivers; for female drivers they are. For all drivers most risk measures increase substantially by age 80, in many cases to values higher than those for 20-year-olds. Given that a death occurs, the probability that it is a traffic fatality declines steeply with age, from well over 20% for late teens through mid twenties, to under one percent at age 65, and under half a percent at age 80. (A) For the covering abstract see IRRD E102514.

Evans, Leonard
Taheri, Bahram
GERRISH, Petter H.

16th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles
Location: Windsor Ontario, Canada
Date: 1998-5-31 to 1998-6-4
Publication Date: 1998-10

Download paper: Epidemiology of The Older Driver.pdf