News Room

What does an aging population mean for road safety?

Columbia, S.C. – February 28, 2012 – According to a recent report issued by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C., the population of Americans 65 years and older will grow by 60 percent over the next 13 years. This means that by 2025, one out of every five drivers will be over the age of 65. In an environment where a growing population of senior drivers accounts for a disproportionate amount of traffic fatalities, road safety for all drivers is becoming increasingly important.

South Carolina has over 550,000 licensed drivers over the age of 65. In 2010, 14 percent of all fatal accidents in South Carolina involved at least one driver that was at least 65 years of age.

“Driver safety is an important issue for all segments of the driving population,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service. “Insurance companies and other membership organizations often coordinate with each other to offer driver safety courses for aging adults as well as teen drivers. Some insurers may even offer a discount for the successful completion of approved courses.”

The report, “Keeping Baby Boomers Mobile: Preserving Mobility and Safety for Older Americans,” states that overall fatalities have declined in recent years and seniors of the Baby Boom generation will be more mobile and active than any previous generation and will continue to take on more efforts to improve their own driving behaviors.

“The growing ranks of older Americans will far outpace previous generations with their level of mobility and activity. Serving their needs will require a transportation system that includes safer roads, safer vehicles, safer drivers, and improved choices,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “Congress can help not only older drivers, but all drivers by passing long-term federal surface transportation now.”

The report offers the following recommendations to help improve the mobility and safety of older Americans:

• Safer roads: clearer, brighter and simpler signage with large lettering; brighter street markings, particularly at intersections; widening or adding left-turn lanes and extending the length of merge or exit lanes; adding rumble strips.

• Safer drivers: promoting education and training programs for older drivers; evaluating and monitoring “at risk” older motorists through appropriate licensing requirements.

• Safer vehicles: improving vehicles to help withstand and avoid crashes.

• Improved choices: ensuring public transit routes, vehicles, facilities and stops are easily accessible and accommodating to older or disabled passengers; and expanding non-traditional approaches tailored to the needs of older adults.

For more information from the S.C. Insurance News Service, call (803)252-3455.

For over 35 years, the South Carolina Insurance News Service, a nonprofit organization, has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.