That 70s Study: Middle-Aged drivers more likely to crash than seniors, says IIHS

Toronto, Ontario — Most would expect middle-aged drivers to have the best track record, however, a new study by the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that is changing.

Over a 21-year period from 1997 and through 2018, IIHS has collected data analyzing the number of fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers. That data has been broken down into four age groups: 45 to 40, 70 to 75, 75 to 79, and over 80.

Over the 21-year period, the 70-plus age group saw a substantial drop. Fatal crash rates dropped 43 percent for seniors, while the middle-aged bracket showed a 21 percent drop in collisions, according to the new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

While seniors seem to be the safest drivers on the road, according to IIHS’s data, most of the decline for seniors has actually not been the case in recent years.

Crash rates for middle-aged drivers and those aged 70-74 were nearly identical, with the 75–79 age-bracket matching the other two groups in 2012. From there, middle-agers crept upwards in crashes per 100,000, while drivers aged 70 to 75 and 75 to 79 held fairly steady.

As for the over-80 crowd, fatal crashes per driver decreased by a full 50 percent, possibly as a result of better public transit in cities.

The study also shows that in the last 21 years, the number of older drivers on the road has increased exponentially.

IIHS points to safer cars and overall health as the reason why more older drivers are on the road than—ever before. Changed in infrastructure with regards to road signs and intersections are also thought to be a factor.

To view IIHS’s full report, click here.

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