The population of drivers over the age of 65 is increasing every day, and with it, concerns over driver safety for seniors. Traffic accidents and fatalities have increased over the last few years for older drivers, but in the same period, new technologies have emerged to prevent or reduce injuries among drivers, especially seniors. Hoping to reverse the trend of increased injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new guidelines for drivers 65 years and older.
The percentage of drivers 65 and older has increased 21 percent since 2003. In 2012, 5560 drivers over 65 died in car accidents, and 214,000 were involved in crashes.
NHTSA is adding a “Silver” rating for cars that it has determined have safety features that can help prevent accidents and injuries among older drivers. The agency’s study and focus on older drivers focuses on three key areas related to technology implementation and development, including in-vehicle crash avoidance systems, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and self-driving vehicles.
In terms of senior drivers themselves, NHTSA identified fragility and frailty as two major issues affecting the abilities of older drivers, including changes in vision, strength, flexibility and cognition. Part of the initiative is educating family members, caregivers, medical professionals and others about how to talk to older drivers about giving up their license when the time comes. You can read more at NHTSA’s site.