Older drivers are at a higher risk for serious injuries when involved in an automobile accident. As drivers age, accidents are not only more common but also more severe when it comes to sustaining injuries. Older drivers or passengers are more likely to experience injuries, sometimes fatal, when involved in even a minor crash. With age, individuals become more fragile making it harder to recover from an accident and also withstand the effects of an automobile accident.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's NHTSA announced on December 5, 2013, a new plan to ensure the safety of older drivers and passengers. NHTSA's plan will focus on vehicle safety, improved data collection and studying driver's behavior. They hope to find new technology for vehicles that can reduce the risk of death and serious injuries in older occupants. This would include better collision safety standards in cars. They also plan to conduct driving studies that are more realistic so they can better understand the effects of mental conditions in older adults such as dementia. They will then focus on educating the public on how to notice signs that you or your loved one may be at risk when driving. This will include keeping an eye out for signs of loss of vision, strength, flexibility and cognitive abilities.
Not only are injuries more common and severe, accidents in general are at a higher rate for adults over the age of 65. In 2012, 5,560 people who were 65 and older, were involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 214,000 were injured. Older drivers now make up 16 percent of all licensed drivers and is expected to increase.