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Tuesday, 07 December 2021 09:59

‘Retirement Vehicles’ Raise Risk of Crash Fatalities for Older Drivers

Index

...vehicle design and safety features, vehicle size and weight are important factors in crash survival, since the occupants of smaller vehicles are exposed to greater forces in collisions with larger ones.

 

Finally, drivers 75 and older were significantly less likely to drive vehicles with good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front and original side crash tests than drivers ages 35-54.

 

“All these vehicle characteristics have big impacts on crash survival rates, and older drivers are more often driving the least-safe vehicles by every parameter,” says Cicchino. “This only gets worse as their age increases, since many older adults stick with a single ‘retirement vehicle’ for the remainder of their driving years.”

 

By comparing the average fatality risk for the vehicles driven by drivers age 70 and older and drivers ages 35-54, the researchers determined crash fatalities could be reduced by 3% for drivers 70 and older and 5% for drivers 80 and older if they drove vehicles with the same safety profile as their middle-aged counterparts. Based on the crash data for 2019, that would translate to about 90 lives saved a year.

 

One reason older drivers have less safe vehicles is they don’t understand the value of advanced safety features or good safety ratings, the survey showed.

 

When choosing their current vehicle, drivers 70 and older were less likely than middle-aged drivers to have required ESC, blind spot monitoring, side or curtain airbags, and forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking (AEB). Only about a quarter of older drivers said they required AEB, compared with 40% of middle-aged drivers, for example.

 

Similarly, about 10% of older drivers said safety ratings are not at all important, compared with 4% of middle-aged drivers, and fewer...