Generally three groups of drivers are known to be high risk. These are teenagers, young men and drivers over the age of 70. As a result, it is not a surprise that these groups are charged high car insurance prices. Premiums reflect the risks associated with insuring certain drivers. Latest crash figures would certainly come as good news for older drivers.
Recent information released by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that there is a serious drop in the fatalities. Fatal crashes involving drivers of 80 year-old and older dropped by 50% while this drop was only 23% among drivers aged between 35 and 54.
There is a significant decline in fatal crashes involving drivers over the age of 70 as well. According to Anne McCartt, Institute IIHS senior VP for research,“If the crash trends of drivers 70 and older had mirrored the experience of middle-age drivers, about 10,000 additional older drivers would have been in fatal crashes during 1997-2008”.
Furthermore, there is a 34% decline in crashes that resulted in injuries for drivers of 80 year-old and older. The decline is only 16 percent for those between the age of 35 and 54. Studies show that auto accidents resulting in property damages has come down more significantly for older drivers.
These figures are even more significant when the figures show that the number of licensed older drivers increased in the period of the study, 1997 – 2009. In this period, number of driving licenses held by 70 – 74 year olds increased by almost 20% in the US. The increase was almost 10% at the age group of 75-79 and about 5% for those over the age of 80. These figures confirm that there are a few more drivers over the age of 70 on the roads now than it was fifteen years ago. And yet, number of accidents and traffic related fatalities dropped.
There are definitely a few reasons for these improvements. One of these reasons is the technological improvements inauto safety. Cars are being made safer and safer every day. And the older drivers may be breaking away from the norms.
Recent car sales figures show that 42% of subcompact cars are sold to them. Older drivers are choosing smaller cars that are easier to handle and more suitable for city driving. Also, these cars tend to have smaller engines that limit their speed. This can explain why the decrease in fatalities is more significant.
It would be due to improvements in the seatbelt and airbag technologies in the last 15 years too. Another study published by the Monash University Accident Research Centre shows similar declines in fatalities in Australia and agrees with recent reports from IIHS. Experts point out how important seatbelt and airbag improvements in the reduction of fatalities are.
Other reasons cannot be overlooked as well. Today older people are leading much healthier lifestyle. They are exercising, minding their eating and getting better medical treatments. People are living longer and better lives. Healthy body means that they are alert enough to stay out of trouble while driving.
Senior drivers are also more aware of the dangers on the roads. There is enough information available online to educate oneself about driving. They are avoiding fast highways, busy rush hour traffic and driving at night. All these factors reduce the dangers, accidents and fatalities.