Aging Baby Boomers Not a Threat Behind the Wheel, Study Says | Edmunds

Aging Baby Boomers Not a Threat Behind the Wheel, Study Says


Just the Facts:
  • Aging Baby Boomers are not a threat behind the wheel, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Older drivers are less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, researchers found.
  • Safer vehicles and healthier seniors are credited with the improving picture for older drivers.

ARLINGTON, Virginia — Aging Baby Boomers are not a threat behind the wheel, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Older drivers are less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, researchers found.

Safer vehicles and healthier seniors are credited with the improving picture for older drivers.

"Older drivers are not only less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash," the study said. "It's a marked shift that began to take hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging drivers aren't making U.S. roads deadlier."

During 1997-2012, fatal crash rates per licensed driver fell 42 percent for older drivers and 30 percent for middle-aged ones. The study said 4,079 people ages 70 and older died in crashes in 2012 or 31 percent fewer than in 1997, when older driver fatal crash involvements peaked in the U.S.

"This should help ease fears that aging Baby Boomers are a safety threat," said Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research and a co-author of the study, in a statement on Thursday.

Researchers used fatal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Report System and other sources.

Edmunds says: The common wisdom that older drivers pose a hazard on the roads appears to be debunked by this study.

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