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Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
The ability to drive gives seniors the ability to stay active in their community – whether they’re visiting loved ones, going out for a night shopping, or attending a fun event.
However, as seniors age, they need to be conscious of the physical and mental changes that could affect their ability to drive safely on the road.
The first week of December is known as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to educating seniors on how they can find the safest way to drive themselves.
Older Driver Facts
- Drivers aged 70+ have a higher crash rate of deaths per 1,000 crashes than those aged 35-54.1
- However, on the bright side, older drivers are involved in fewer fatal collisions than in the past. 4,570 people ages 70 and older died in crashes in the year 2020, which is 22% fewer than in 1997.2
- The most common causes of accidents with seniors are misjudgment of speed, failure to yield to the right-of-way, and failure to survey surroundings.3
- Senior men are more at risk for car crash fatalities than women.4
- It is estimated that in 2020, 7,500 seniors are killed in car crashes and 200,000 went to the emergency room. Per day, the CDC estimates this is 20 deaths and 540 injuries.1
- Car insurance is the most expensive for seniors, with a 75 year old paying an average of $1,847 per year. An 85 year old will pay roughly $2,165.5
Common Health Conditions That Impact Driving
Older adults face many health conditions that might impact their driving, including:
- Arthritis. It is estimated that 24% of adults in the US have arthritis. Arthritis affects the joints, which can impact a senior’s ability to drive.6
- Hearing Loss. 25% of adults over 65 and 50% of adults age 75 and older experience hearing loss. Hearing loss can impact a senior’s ability to hear sirens, horns, and car noises.7
- Joint Pain. More than 50% of people over 65 experience joint pain, which can impair a senior’s movement when driving.8
- Eyesight changes. The eyes change with age, which can make it harder to read signs, distinguish objects, and recognize familiar places.
- Dementia. 6.5 million Americans over 65 have dementia, which can affect a senior’s ability to drive as it changes the brain and makes it harder to remember people, places, and facts.9
Ways Seniors Can Remain Safe While Driving
- Always wear a seatbelt when driving
- Receive an annual eye exam to check vision for changes or impairments. Wear glasses or contacts as prescribed
- Review medications and their impact on the physical and mental capabilities when driving
- Avoid driving at night
- Take a course on defensive driving to refresh your driving skills
- Keep a car’s distance in front of you
- Limit drive time to shorter distances
- Drive when the weather is safest
- Avoid driving during rush hour
- Pull over if you feel unsafe
- Avoid drinking and driving
- Avoid listening to loud music when driving
- Do not text and drive
Keep Older Driver Safety Awareness in Mind
If you notice that your ability to drive becomes impacted as you age, contact a doctor. They will be able to discuss the changes to your body as you age as well as the safety precautions you should be taking to stay safe on the road.
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and assisted living services across the communities that we serve. To learn more about Saber Healthcare, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Older Adult Drivers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 28 June 2022. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/older_adult_drivers/index.html#:~:text=Drivers%20aged%2070%2B%20have%20higher,(aged%2035%2D54).&text=Higher%20crash%20death%20rates%20among,crash%20death%20rates%20than%20females
- “Older Drivers.” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2022 July. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.iihs.org/topics/older-drivers
- Sleight, Mandy. Kempken, Maggie, ed. “2022 Senior driver facts and statistics.” Bankrate. 15 November 2022. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/senior-driver-facts-and-statistics/
- “Fatality Facts 2020 Older people.” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/older-people
- Rivelli, Elizabeth. McCormick, John, ed. “Car insurance for seniors.” Insurance.com. 7 November 2022. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/auto-insurance-basics/senior-drivers.html#:~:text=For%20most%20drivers%2C%20car%20insurance,85%20year%20old%20it's%20%242%2C165.
- “Arthritis: Types, Symptoms, and Causes.” Saber Healthcare Group. 17 May 2022. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/arthritis-symptoms-and-causes
- “6 Ways to Protect Your Hearing as You Age.” Saber Healthcare Group. 20 June 2021. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/protect-your-hearing-as-you-age
- Jordan, Michele. Smith, Michael, ed. “Joint Pain Isn’t Inevitable With Age.” WebMD. 29 March 2021. Accessed 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/features/joint-pain-management-age
- “Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures.” Alzheimer’s Association. 1 December 2022. Link: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures#:~:text=More%20than%206%20million%20Americans%20of%20all%20ages%20have%20Alzheimer's,older%20(10.7%25)%20has%20Alzheimer's.