It is understood that senior drivers have higher car accident rates and driver deaths but it turns out that not all states are created equal when it comes to senior driving fatalities. A survey* conducted by senior care resources company caring.com and released July, 2016 lists the top 10 most and least dangerous states in the United States for senior drivers. Strangely, the state with the smallest total square miles (Rhode Island) proved to be the most dangerous state for senior drivers and the state with the fifth largest total square miles was the safest (New Mexico). In 2014, Rhode Island’s senior drivers accounted for a whopping 35 percent of all the roadway deaths in their state despite only making up 16 percent of the population.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, senior adults aged 65 and older will make up about 25 percent of all the American drivers by the year 2025. The ongoing growth in senior drivers means that finding ways to reduce accidents among this group is vitally important. States must begin answering how they can make driving conditions safer for seniors and thereby everybody else on the road.
Top 10 safest states for senior drivers
1. New Mexico
2. North Dakota
7. South Carolina
Top 10 most dangerous states for senior drivers
1. Rhode Island
4. New York
8. New Jersey
What makes a state more or less safe for senior drivers?
There are factors out of the control of state lawmakers that affect the rate of seniors killed in car accidents including weather and population density. According to Richard Murdocco, M.A., who writes about urban planning and land use: suburban areas with large population centers have been struggling with how to adapt old infrastructure to the needs of an ageing population. The study found, however, that states with tougher driving laws for older motorists show a lower rate of deaths among senior drivers. It should be noted that most of the states on the safest list are warm weather states that do not get snow and ice in the winter and most have sparse populations. All but two of them also have stricter rules targeted at senior drivers with Wyoming and Mississippi being the exceptions. Conversely, many of the states on the most dangerous list have less strict rules or no specific rules directed at senior drivers. Six of the 10 states on the most dangerous list have no rules for senior drivers: New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey and Delaware. Targeted senior driver rules include: regular driver’s license renewal requirements, in-person driver training and vision tests.
*To complete the survey, the researchers analyzed the number of residents age 65 and older in each state who were killed in car accidents. They then compared the statistics to the group’s part of the state’s population. The researchers used 2014 car accident statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau population data and figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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Source: Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog