Older drivers: Safer than ever before

The Baby Boom generation has been America's largest generation in history. But as its members began to gray and approach retirement, safety researchers worried that aging Boomers would increase the number of car accidents on our nation's highways.

But older Joplin drivers should be reassured: today's drivers age 70 or above are less likely to be in traffic accidents than previous generations.

More good news: today's older drivers are less likely to be seriously injured or killed when they are involved in accidents. These findings are all part of a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute attributes the good news to today's healthier seniors and safer vehicles.

“This should help ease fears that aging Baby Boomers are a safety threat,” said a co-author of the study.

Overall, traffic deaths in the nation have dropped to 1940s levels.

However, ponder this fact: since 1997, older drivers have had bigger declines in accident rates than middle-aged drivers (35 to 54 years old).

From '97 to 2012, fatal accident rates for older drivers dropped 42 percent. For middle-aged drivers, the rate declined 30 percent.

The biggest decline of all was found in the oldest drivers of all: the drop in fatal crashes among drivers 80 and older dropped nearly twice as fast as the rate among middle-aged drivers.

Anyone who has been injured in a car accident can tell you that the age of the person who caused the crash is not nearly as important as holding that person responsible for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. To begin the process of holding the driver accountable, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Study: Grandpa and Grandma Much Safer Behind the Wheel," Joan Lowry, March 10, 2014

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