U.S. News


New Federal Safety Plan Aimed At Senior Drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a 5-year safety plan for elderly drivers.
Posted at 10:18 AM, Dec 08, 2013

New federal safety plans for elderly drivers — but what you might not know is statistically, older drivers are the safest on the road. 

So what's with this new 5-year safety plan announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation

"They say the number of older drivers increases dramatically, the number of traffic injuries and deaths for that group will also skyrocket. Since 2003, the number of adults 65 and older has increased 20 percent." (Via WTVT)

A quick look at the numbers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:


- In 2012, there were 35 million licensed older drivers.

- That same year, 5,560 people over 65 died in car crashes. That's a 3 percent jump in fatalities in a year that also saw a 16 percent increase in injuries. (Via U.S. Department of Transportation)

So essentially the NHTSA says it's looking to decrease risk for a population of drivers that are at higher risk of injury or death on the road. 

Part of the plan involves researching advanced technologies like collision avoidance. The NHTSA says it's also trying to better its data collection systems to better analyze crash statistics. 

And part of the data collection portion of the plan involves commissioning studies that look at how age-related medical conditions like dementia affect elderly drivers. 

Bizarre headlines like when this 84-year-old woman sped the wrong way down an interstate have long sparked debate over seniors behind the wheel. (Via ABC)

But the topic has always been a sensitive and controversial one. In the NHTSA announcement of its safety guidelines, the agency was careful to note age on its own isn't a determining factor for safe driving.