• By John R. Quain

Older Drivers Are Now Safer Drivers?

For years, transportation experts worried about an increase in fatalities among older drivers, especially as those ranks grew. But a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that drivers ages 70 and older are now less likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than those 35 to 54.

From 1997 to 2018, fatal accidents per licensed driver 70 and older fell by 43 percent. Compare that to middle-aged drivers 35 to 54, who saw a decline in fatal accidents of 21 percent for the same period. Furthermore, for the first time, in 2017 drivers 70 and older had fewer crashes reported to police per mile than middle-aged drivers.

So why the good news?

Better health and physical fitness among septuagenarians is part of the answer, according to the study from the Arlington, Virginia–based nonprofit, which receives its money from insurers and insurance trade associations. Also contributing factors: basic safety improvements in vehicles and the tendency of more mature drivers to engage in less risky behavior behind the wheel compared with middle-aged drivers.

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