Often times, it is the youngest and oldest members of society who are blamed as the most dangerous on the road. Well, a recent investigation by a reporter from Highlands Today sought to find out if that hypothesis was supported by statistics or was merely a stereotype.
The reporter found that while the Florida Department of Transportation does not keep specificaccident records by age, the youngest and oldest drivers in Highlands County do appear to suffer the most fatalities.
In Highland County between 2007 and 2009, the largest number of fatal traffic accidents involved drivers between 15 and 29 years of age and those between 75 and 89 years, higher than any other age group, Highlands Today reported.
For the younger drivers, there were a total of 16 deaths and 520 injuries, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The older drivers suffered 14 deaths and 181 injuries.
And those statistics are not believed to be unique to southern Florida. In fact, the Highlands County EMS director said that these numbers are similar throughout the country.
What makes younger and older drivers more likely to be involved in serious auto accidents?
Highlands County Sheriff’s captain Paul Blackman doesn’t think younger drivers are necessarily more reckless while driving, but they often are more distracted, he said. Blackman said that older drivers, on the other hand, have diminished reaction times, often caused by poor vision.
The time of year also plays a factor in who causes accidents in Florida, Blackman said. During the summer months, when the kids are out of school and many snowbirds have headed back north, it is the younger population getting into accidents. Then, in the wintertime, it is the older population getting into more accidents, he explained.
Source: Highlands Today, “Hard numbers on traffic tragedies,” Brad Dickerson, March 13, 2011