Many older drivers are involved in car accidents. They don’t have monitoring devices and few want to give up the keys, new survey shows.
By Elvis Donnelly
Have you been involved in an accident in the last six months? If you’re a senior driver and answer ‘yes’, it’s time to reevaluate your driving skills. The same goes for someone who has an older family member who still drives. In an online survey of 100 drivers above the age of 50, most drivers said they were involved in accidents. Although most of these accidents were not the driver’s fault, it’s a warning sign for seniors to be more careful on the road.
Older drivers make up 11 percent of all the drivers on the road, according to data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. What’s scary is that even though they’re a small percentage, the crash rates involving seniors are high- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2008, 15 elderly drivers were killed while 500 were injured every day. The numbers are increasing every day and often bad driving habits are a cause.
Here’s more on what the survey revealed.
91 percent of seniors are involved in accidents
75 percent of older drivers were involved in an accident in which they were not at fault while 16 percent said they were at fault when they met with an accident.
57 percent of older drivers don’t consider car devices that help them
While most of the respondents don’t look out for technologically advanced cars for mature drivers, there were some tech-savvy seniors who said that they found technology helpful. These technologies are not only useful while driving, but can help save you money on your insurance premiums.
The top five in-vehicle technologies picked by our respondents are:
1. Reverse monitoring system
2. Blind spot warning system
3. Drowsy driver alert
4. Crash mitigation system
5. Assistive parking system
40 percent of drivers won’t switch insurers even when offered a better deal
20 percent of older drivers said their current insurer offered senior discounts while the other 40 percent said they would consider switching if offered insurance discounts and benefits like First Accident Forgiveness, 12-month Rate Protection, Lifetime Renewability and New Car Replacement.
32 percent suffer from arthritis and still drive
When asked if they were suffering from illnesses like diabetes, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s, arthritis or glaucoma and still driving, most said they were not. However, 32 percent of respondents said they had arthritis and continued to drive. As this illness progressively leads to slower body movements, drivers with arthritis should consider reducing their time at the wheel or other alternatives like public transport or carpooling.
62 percent said they would give up the keys only when they die
The question that is often the subject of debate – When should older drivers give up the keys? – has been answered by the drivers themselves. Not before we die, say the majority while 36 percent say they’ll give up the keys only when they turn 80.
But, there are positive signs…
The survey was not all grim news when it came to the driving habits of seniors. Here are a few of the positives that were revealed.
- 82 percent are aware of the benefits that physical exercise can have towards driving ability and follow some kind of exercise routine to remain physically fit to drive.
- 65 percent said they have regular meetings with their physician to check if the medication they are taking affects driving ability.
- 86 percent said they have regular eye exams to maintain sharp vision.
- 71 percent said they remain calm even in difficult traffic situations.
- 81 percent try to stay informed on changes in driving laws and regulations.
The survey went deep into the mindset of older drivers revealing habits that can impact driving laws in the future. Despite many older drivers claiming to be fit enough and capable to drive, the question remains- When should older drivers give up the keys? It’s not a question to be taken lightly as an increase in the number of accidents puts seniors at a greater risk on the road. Older drivers, get a driving retest done and regular checkups to monitor your driving ability. Even if you have to give up the keys, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life. Your safety is far more important than your car!
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Elvis Donnelly, a father of two who works from home. I am a voracious reader and like to keep abreast of current affairs on personal finance, technology and innovation. In my spare time, I love taking on home improvement projects and consider myself a closet chef.
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