Jan 13, 2009
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Good article in the New York Times today:
An Epidemic of Crashes Among the Aging? Unlikely, Study Says
– “The (Insurance Institute for Highway Driving) insurance institute is conducting further research to determine why the risks appear to be going down for older drivers. It may be that today’s older drivers are simply in better physical and mental shape than their counterparts a decade ago, so they are not only less likely to make a driving mistake, but also less frail and better able to survive injuries.”
There is no doubt that, as a group, older persons of any given age are in better physical and mental shape today than their counterparts years ago. For context, worldwide life expectancy has increased more than 20 years in less than 6o years – so you can imagine how a person in his or her early 70s today is in better shape than someone in his or her mid-60s a few decades back.
Still, as the number of people over the age of 60 starts to grow exponentially given the influx of baby boomers, society at large will probably benefit from starting to think through 1) what are the types of programs, whether introduced and managed by the AARP, DMV or car insurance companies, that can help older adults drive safely for as long as they want and need, 2) what are the mechanisms to prevent having drivers in our roads who don’t possess the minimum perceptual and cognitive abilities required to drive “safely” (and what “safely” really means).
And, yes, we should probably have a similar conversation regarding teenage driving.
For related reading, you may enjoy these 2 articles: