Study finds older drivers at 'greatest risk;'
funding needed for safety enhancements
Tony Dorsey, AASHTO
The report, "Keeping Baby Boomers Mobile: Preserving Mobility and Safety for Older Americans," also makes the case for increased funding, research, planning and implementation of innovative solutions to support older drivers now and into the future.
The number of older Americans and their share of the overall population surged in 2011, as the first of the Baby Boom generation began turning 65. This dramatic growth will continue throughout the decade, with projections indicating that one in every five drivers in America will be age 65 or older by 2025.
"State transportation departments are doing what they can with limited resources," said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). "A long-term federal surface transportation reauthorization will give state DOTs the ability to invest in infrastructure projects to enhance safety, decrease traffic congestion, and improve the security and mobility of older Americans -- who the study finds make 90 percent of their trips by private vehicle."
Total traffic fatalities have declined in recent years; however, the study calls attention to the fact that older motorists are involved in a disproportionately high share of deadly crashes. In 2010, there were 5,750 fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older. Although drivers 65 and older account for 8 percent of all miles driven, they comprise 17 percent of all traffic fatalities.
"The growing ranks of older Americans will far outpace previous generations with their level of ability and activity. Serving their needs will require a transportation system that includes safer roads, safer vehicles, safer drivers and improved choices," said TRIP Executive Director Will Wilkins. "Congress can help not only older drivers, but all drivers by passing long-term federal surface transportation legislation now."
AASHTO's three pronged approach to keeping America's growing population of older drivers mobile and safe is: