Older road user safety facts
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 Traffic Safety Facts, 196,000 older individuals (65 years and older) were injured in traffic crashes, accounting for 8 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. These older individuals made up 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 14 percent of all vehicle occupant fatalities and 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. The fact sheet contains additional statistics on older drivers and can be viewed on the NHTSA Web site at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
In Iowa during 2008, 74 people age 55 and older died in traffic related crashes and 1,924 were injured; 172 of them seriously. In 2008, 79 people age 65 and older died in traffic related crashes, down from a high of 90 in 2006.
These figures are expected to rise because older road users are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. According to the Census Bureau, residents age 65 and older increased by 14.7 percent between 2000 and 2007, a percentage that is higher than the national average of 12.6 percent. Not only will the number of older drivers increase, these drivers will also drive more miles per year than previous generations and will drive at older ages. Older drivers currently make up 15 percent of all U.S. drivers. In Iowa, 15 percent of the population is age 65 and older. These residents account for 18 percent of licensed drivers in the state and 4 percent are age 80 and older. The majority of those licensed drivers are women (197,117) and 170,020 are male.