Seniors are often accused of being bad drivers with a certain disregard for road safety laws. And yet, a new study by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that drivers in their 70s are now less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those aged 35-54.
Not only that, but according to data analyzed by the IIHS, septuagenarians had fewer police-reported crashes per mile than middle-aged drivers for the first time in 2017.
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Here is a graphic that shows how fatality rates have evolved for the various age groups from 1997-2018:
As the population keeps getting older, the number of licenced drivers in the 70s has significantly increased over the past couple of decades. So has their average annual mileage.
However, their fatal crash rates per licensed driver fell 43 percent from 1997-2018, compared with a decline of 21 percent for drivers aged 35-54.
The IIHS points out that improvements in healthcare means older drivers are less likely to crash because the onset of problems like failing eyesight and impaired cognitive function is delayed. Seniors who are in better shape are also more likely to survive if they do crash.
It should also be noted that modern vehicles have gotten safer, while governments across the continent have improved road infrastructure and made impactful changes to licensing policies.