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Tags: older | drivers | hazard | senior | road | accidents

Older Drivers Not a Road Hazard

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:19 PM EDT

In a report that challenges the belief that older drivers are a greater risk on the road, a Canadian scientist has found the large proportion of seniors who die in car accidents is largely due to their age-related “frailty” – not because they are bad drivers who are more likely to cause a crash.
The report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, noted accident statistics indicate more than 80 percent of people killed when a motorist is 85 years or older are the drivers themselves. By comparison, two-thirds of motorists under 60 who die in car accidents are killed by other people.
"Unlike younger drivers, older drivers are a danger mainly to themselves," said the report’s author Dr. Ezra Hauer, an engineering specialist with the University of Toronto.
The overrepresentation of seniors in fatal crashes is mainly due to their "frailty — the age-related increase in the probability of dying as a result of a crash," he added. "Frailty as a cause of overrepresentation should not be confused with the ability to drive safely."
Hauer cited two factors that may be at work:
• First, seniors tend to drive more on surface streets with many intersections where the crash rate is higher than on freeways.
• Secondly, crashes with seniors are more often reported to the police because they are seldom single-vehicle crashes and because the crash often involves injury to the senior.
"For these reasons, a larger proportion of seniors' crashes end up in the official statistics; this too contributes to the appearance of overrepresentation and has nothing to do with the ability to drive safely," said. Hauer.

© HealthDay

Seniors die more often in car accidents, but it's not because they are dangerous drivers.
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:19 PM
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