In prior posts we have mentioned that auto manufacturers have shifted their focuses from crashworthiness to crash avoidance. This shift, we theorized, was in part due to the number of older drivers that would be on the road in the coming decade. With more baby boomers turning 65 each year, and many of them still feeling the independence of driving themselves, automakers ostensibly saw a new market of car buyers who commonly did not purchase new vehicles.
Also, the prospect of more older drivers being involved in accidents played a part in making cars safer. If a driver could avoid an accident, the less likely it would be that he or she would be injured.
It appears that the shift in focus is working. According to a recent study produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in car accidents than previous generations. Moreover, these drivers are less likely to be killed or seriously injured.
The report indicated that traffic deaths across the U.S. have declined to numbers not seen since World War II. Since 1997, traffic fatalities involving older drivers have declined even though they drive in numbers comparable to middle age drivers. Also, drivers aged 80 and older had fewer accidents.
These numbers may ease the fears of safety analysts who believed that there was a coming disaster of accidents involving senior citizens. To the contrary, the inclusion of various crash avoidance technologies may reduce crash rates even further.
Source: Wistv.com Accident rates improving for older drivers Feb.20, 2014