Thursday, December 5, 2013

NHTSA Focuses on Older Drivers

In 2012, 35 million drivers age 65 and older held driver's licenses in the U.S., reflecting a 21% increase in licenses held by older adults since 2003. With the growing number of older drivers comes an increase in injuries and fatalities experienced by these drivers as a result of motor vehicle crashes. In 2012, vehicle crash injuries among older adults increased 16% over the previous year for a total of 214,000 injuries.

To address this growing concern, U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is announcing a 5-year plan to focus on the safety of older drivers and passengers. Key aspects of the plan include:
  • New research regarding advanced vehicle technologies such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, collision avoidance and crashworthiness will be conducted to better assess how these technologies might be used to benefit older drivers. 
  • NHTSA is considering upgrades to its New Car Assessment Program, including a new rating system for older drivers and passengers.
  • NHTSA data collection systems will be refined to continue evaluation of crash rates, injuries and  issues regarding driver behaviors, including physical, cognitive and perceptual changes. Clinical and naturalistic driving studies will also be conducted to better understand effects of age-related medical conditions such as dementia.
  • Continued public education efforts, including the new release of Older Driver Highway Safety Program Guidelines.
For more information and to download the Older Driver Highway Safety Program Guidelines, click here.