Preventing Boston Car Accidents: Lawmakers and Groups Calling on Massachusetts to Retest Elderly Drivers

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says he’ll support legislation mandating that drivers, 85 and older, must pass road and eye tests every year before their driver’s licenses can be renewed.

With people living longer, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that by 2025, 25% of all US drivers will be at least 65, and there is a growing concern that some older drivers may become less safe drivers as their reflexes get slower, their vision blurs, or their health deteriorates.

In Massachusetts last Friday, seven people got hurt in a Plymouth car crash involving a 73-year-old driver who drove over a curb and into a crowd of people that were attending a war memorial. This was the third car accident that the elderly driver was involved in since she turned 70.

In Danvers, on Thursday, a mother and a toddler got hurt when a 93-year-old motorist accidentally drove his car into a Wal-Mart in Danvers.

NHTSA 2007 Older Population (65 and Older) Traffic Statistics:
• There were 30 million older drivers with licenses.
• There were 38 million people age 65 and older in the US.
• 196,000 older people got hurt in US traffic accidents.
• 79% of deadly traffic accidents involving older drivers occurred during the day.
• 71% of these fatal crashes involved other motor vehicles.
• 64 of the 551 drivers involved in deadly Massachusetts traffic crashes belonged to this older population.

According to the Insurance for Highway Safety’s 2007 Fatality Facts Involving Older People:
• Auto collisions make up 1% of deaths involving people age 70 and above.
• Today’s older drivers are keeping their licenses longer and traveling more miles via roads.
• Per mile traveled, fatality crash rates go up at age 75 and after age 80.

Pressure mounts to test elder drivers,, June 8, 2009
Older people 2007 Fatality Facts,
Traffic Safety Fact Sheets, NHTSA
Related Web Resources:
Safe Roads Now,, Senior Drivers
Insurance Information Institute

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