Old age and driving

Statistics show that per mile driven older drivers are over-represented in fatal accidents. Due to their physical frailty they are more likely to be injured in an accident and more likely to die of that injury. When frailty is accounted for and older drivers are compared to younger persons driving the same amount the over-representation disappears.[1] According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a senior citizen is more likely than a younger driver to be at fault in an accident in which they are involved.[2] The most common violations include failure to obey traffic signals, unsafe turns and passing, and failure to yield the right of way.[3]

Physical strength, mental acuity, and overall health can begin to deteriorate as a person ages and they may not even be aware it is happening. Although there are some voluntary measures a person can utilize to check their driving abilities, seniors driving in an unsafe manner is still a large problem. An aging person may have some issues admitting they are no longer fit to take the wheel. It may be difficult to talk with a loved one suffering with these impairments but it is important to communicate the importance of safety when operating a motor vehicle.

Often, family members of an elderly person, such as one's children, are faced with the responsibility of trying to get them to give up driving. This can be challenging because few senior citizens are voluntarily willing to give up their own car keys.[4] The law in most places allows senior citizens to keep on driving provided they meet the same requirements as younger adults. Some places require persons above a specified age to take certain tests when renewing their licenses, up to and including a road test, or to receive a physician's certificate stating they are medically fit to operate a motor vehicle.[5]

Some senior citizens may continue to be permitted to drive, but with limitations, such as the amount of driving they can do, the hours in which they can drive, or the distance from home they can travel. These restrictions may be placed either by the law or their insurance provider which vary by state.[6]

Also at issue is determining exactly what age is considered too old to drive. As the process of aging varies from one person to the next, the age at which an elderly person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle declines varies between persons. This creates controversy in regulating driving in the elderly.

Senior citizens are seen by some as among the safest drivers on the road, as they generally do not speed or take risks, and they are more likely to wear seatbelts.[7]


In some elderly people, senses vital to safe driving, such as vision and hearing, decrease to the point that driving safety is compromised. Those whose vision is impaired may continue to be able to drive safely during daylight, but may have difficulty driving at night. In some persons, corrective lenses may improve the ability of the individual to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Physical abilities

Others have decreased physical abilities, such as gross and fine motor skills and reflexes, thereby rendering the driver physically unable to perform at a safe level.[8][9] These partly explain why an elderly motorist may drive more slowly.[10]


Reduced cognition from mental conditions associated with old age, such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia can also impair driving.

Signs of impairment

The following are considered signs that an elderly person's driving may be impaired:[11]

  • Confusion while driving somewhere
  • Having two or more minor accidents in a short period of time
  • Thinking the speed limit is too high
  • Others not feeling comfortable riding in a vehicle with the driver

Ageing individuals should consider the following questions:[12]

  • When you are driving, do objects such as parked cars or pedestrians catch you by surprise?
  • Do you have difficulty seeing other cars before the driver honks? Do other drivers honk at you for reasons you don't understand?
  • Do you have limited neck rotation?
  • Are your reflexes slower and reaction time longer than they used to be?
  • Do you ever feel momentarily confused, nervous, or uncomfortable while driving?
  • Has a family member ever suggested that you stop driving?
  • Do you have a low-contrast sensitivity? For example, do you have trouble seeing a gray car at dusk, a black car at night, or a white car on a snowy roadway?
  • Is your visual acuity on a 20/20 scale below the minimum level required by your state?

Growing concern

The number of older drivers on the road is growing and bound to increase at a more rapid rate, as more baby boomers become seniors.[3] According to an AARP spokeswoman, by 2030 over 78 million boomers will be 65+, and research shows that men will outlive their driving abilities by six years and women by 10.[13]

Effects of giving up driving

The operation of a private vehicle is essential to life in many places, especially to one's independence.[14] After the loss of their license, an elderly person may be forced to make major lifestyle changes.

Where available, some senior citizens may turn to public transportation or paratransit.

Where no public transportation is available, or if the individual does not feel comfortable with public transit, one may seek rides from others, such as family members. Though individuals can find alternative means of transportation, these alternatives may be more limiting than one's own car.

Senior-Friendly Transportation

Because giving up driving is viewed by the elderly as a loss of their independence, many may be reluctant to seek out alternative forms of transportation when they are no longer able to drive. The best way for transit providers to meet the transportation needs of most older Americans is to meet the transportation needs of the general adult population. Their needs are similar to other age groups: shopping, getting to work, medical appointments, going to restaurants and visiting friends.[15] Seniors are looking for travel services that provide control, autonomy, and choice.[15] The National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) states that 83% of older Americans agree that public transit provides easy access to the things that they need in everyday life.[16]

Five A's of Senior-Friendly Transportation

The Beverly Foundation developed these five aspects to greater encompass the necessary requirements to create a senior-friendly transportation alternative:[17][18]

  • Availability: This alone is not the solution to transportation challenges for older adults. Most public and community transportation systems require passengers to get to a transit stop or to the curb in order to use their services, and senior-friendly transportation must be different. The same limitations that make it difficult/impossible for seniors to drive also can make it difficult for them to get to the transit stop or the curb, or even to get on or off a vehicle without assistance.
  • Acceptability: This suggests senior passenger criteria of comfort and convenience of service. Seniors may have higher standards for transportation because they are used to their personal vehicles. Senior-friendly transportation needs to recognize these standards to which it is being measured.
  • Accessibility: Passengers must be able to access the service and the vehicle. The system must take services to the passengers, and offer them assistance and support prior to, during, and following their travel, coined as "door-to-door, door-through-door, and at-the-destination assistance." [18]
  • Adaptability: Calls for the service to meet the assistance needs of older adults. Multi-stop metro and bus rides are more difficult for elderly because they lack flexibility, which is essential for senior-friendly transportation. It needs to be able to accommodate the use of walkers and service animals, also.
  • Affordability: Aims for transportation to be affordable to passengers and to the transportation services. Research shows it can cost between $5000 and $7500 a year to own and operate an automobile.[18] However, when older adults can no longer drive, they rarely convert savings in automobile ownership into funds which they can use for another transportation option. Senior-friendly transportation systems have the job to educate the elderly about alternative options, and help them to understand that these costs are not an additional expense, but a substitute for the cost of a personal automobile.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Langford J, Methorst R, Hakamies-Blomqvist L. Older drivers do not have a high crash risk — a replication of low mileage bias. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2006; 38: 574-8.
  2. ^ "Should we be scared of senior drivers? - NewsTimes". newstimes.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/06/15/prca0615.htm
  4. ^ "Aging Drivers - Getting Parents to Give Up Their Keys". axcessnews.com. January 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Driving in UK at the Ripe Age of 70 | Smart Learner Driving School". web.archive.org. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  6. ^ Gursten, Steve. "Elderly Driving Resource Center". Michigan Auto Law. Michigan Auto Law. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Should we be scared of senior drivers? - NewsTimes". newstimes.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  8. ^ Belsky, J. (2006). Experiencing the Lifespan. Worth Publishers. p. 436. ISBN 9780716751304. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  9. ^ Burns, A.; Dening, T.; Lawlor, B. (2001). Clinical Guidelines in Old Age Psychiatry. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781841840291. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  10. ^ Posner, R.A. (1997). Aging and Old Age. University of Chicago Press. p. 124. ISBN 9780226675688. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Should we be scared of senior drivers? - NewsTimes". newstimes.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  12. ^ http://www.aarp.org/family/articles/safe_driving.html
  13. ^ "Caregiving, Assisted Living, Caregiver Help and Advice - AARP". aarp.org. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Should we be scared of senior drivers? - NewsTimes". newstimes.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b http://www.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/articlefiles/senior_toolkit_color1.pdf
  16. ^ http://seniortransportation.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=NCST2_older_tips
  17. ^ https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/STP2.pdf
  18. ^ a b c http://beverlyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Fact-Sheet-5-the-5-as.pdf
Death rates in the 20th century

Death rates in the 20th century is the ratio of deaths compared to the population around the world throughout the 20th century. When giving these ratios, they are most commonly expressed by number of deaths per 1,000 people per year. Many factors contribute to death rates such as cause of death, increasing the death rate, an aging population, which could increase and decrease the death rates by birth rates, and improvements in public health, decreasing the death rate.

According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July 2012, the global crude death rate is 7.99 deaths/1,000 population. The crude death rate represents the total number of deaths per year per thousand people. Comparatively, the crude death rate in the year 1900 was 17.2 deaths/1,000 population and 9.6 deaths/1,000 population in 1950 in America.

Old man's car

An old man's car (or old person's car or old folk's car) is stereotype of a car that appeals to older buyers rather than to younger ones. It is widely held in the United States automobile industry that such cars are difficult to sell. Several automobile manufacturers have taken steps to shake the perception that their cars are intended for an older generation because it tarnishes the brand's image in the eyes of younger buyers.

Two automobile company executives are associated with the adage that "You can sell a young man's car to an old man, but you cannot sell an old man's car to a young man." Lynn Townsend, who became president of Chrysler in 1961, and Semon Knudsen who became General Manager of Pontiac in July 1956. Knudsen espoused this philosophy during the changes that he made to Pontiac from 1957 to 1959, which began with the release of the Bonneville, intended to be a high profile announcement to the U.S. public that Pontiac was "no longer an old man's car company". Townsend had two teenage sons, who, according to Hoover (the engineering coordinator for the engineering division for the race programme in 1961), when Townsend took on the position of president "made it known to dad straightaway that this stuff was nowhere. He was highly sensitive to the fact that the product line was nowhere out there with the young people.". Townsend used this rationale in his directive to change the image of the product line in October 1961.Ford employed this adage in its advertising for the Ford Focus in the United States. One advertisement showed a group of youths climbing out of the rear of the car after having pulled into a parking space too narrow for them to open the side doors. Another showed a similar group of youths nervously holding coffee cups as the car passed over a series of railway tracks. Mueller observes that Ford "could just as easily have demonstrated the ease of entry or exit for a cane user [...] or a number of other features especially useful for drivers with limitations due to age or disability", but chose not to because that would be attempting to sell features that appeal to older people to young people, whereas the campaign that Ford went with actually sold features that appeal to younger people to both younger and older people.Similarly, whilst most buyers of Honda cars are in the 40 to 60 age range, the advertising for the cars "portrays youthful activities and targets a youth mindset" (in the words of American Honda's national advertising manager).Oldsmobile automobiles had, by the 1990s, long been branded as "old man's cars" and "Buick clones". John Rock became the chief executive in 1992, and by January 1993 was implementing a strategy to bring in younger buyers that comprised (in Rock's words) "throw[ing] out old brands and creat[ing] new ones" and becoming more "Saturn-like". (In a 2006 interview, Robert Lutz, vice-chairman of General Motors said that for the Saturn "you don't have to overcome preconceived public notions", whereas the fact that Buick "is an old person's car is a notion that's constantly reinforced by the media", making it easier to grow a brand like Saturn.) One part of doing so was an advertising campaign aimed at shedding the old man's car preconception, involving the slogan "This is not your father's Oldsmobile." Kassof states that the advertising campaign was a flop, and further opines that it may indeed have backfired, reinforcing and even introducing the old man's car preconception in the minds of those people who had not previously thought of Oldsmobile vehicles as being such. GM eventually successfully courted younger buyers with the Buick brand, following the phaseout of Oldsmobile in 2004 and the phaseout of Saturn and Pontiac in 2010 after GM's bankruptcy.

Traffic stop

A traffic stop, commonly called being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.

Traffic violations reciprocity

Under traffic violations reciprocity agreements, non-resident drivers are treated like residents when they are stopped for a traffic offense that occurs in another jurisdiction. They also ensure that punishments such as penalty points on one's license and the ensuing increase in insurance premiums follow the driver home. The general principle of such interstate, interprovincial, and/or international compacts is to guarantee the rule "one license, one record."

Rules of the road
Road user guides
Speed limit
Moving violations
Driver licensing
Traffic violations reciprocity
Automotive safety
Road safety

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