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Research on Older Driver’s Safety

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:

- All­state: Can we improve Dri­ver Safe­ty using Posit Sci­ence InSight?

- Improv­ing Dri­ving Skills and Brain Func­tion­ing- Inter­view with ACTIVE’s Jer­ri Edwards

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