Study: Drastic decline in fatalities among drivers over 70

There's No Substitute for Experience

It was once predicted that Tennessee and the rest of the United States would see a spike in fatal car accidents as people began living longer and the baby boomer generation reached their golden years. That’s because older drivers were largely viewed as a danger on the roads.

However, recent data shows that older drivers have proved their critics wrong.

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that highway fatalities have decreased drastically over the past three decades, especially among drivers aged 70 and older.

“No matter how we looked at the fatal crash data for this age group -- by licensed drivers or miles driven -- the fatal crash involvement rates for drivers 70 and older declined, and did so at a faster pace than the rates for drivers ages 35 to 54,” said the co-author of the study, who is also the institute's senior vice president for research.

The institute explained that since the mid-1990s, older drivers have been getting into fewer serious accidents, which could be a result of both safer vehicles and improved heath later in life.

Not only that, the institute said that older drivers are logging more miles behind the wheel than ever before, suggesting that today’s older drivers feel more comfortable and confident driving compared to past generations.

The national association that represents the 50 and older population, AARP, told the Associated Press that the study “dispels common misconceptions and reveals positive trends related to older drivers.”

AARP is right, there is a common misconception that older drivers pose a greater threat on the roads, when drivers of all ages cause accidents. In fact, many fatal accidents result from negligent actions such as texting or drunk driving, which are more common among younger drivers.

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