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Are Older People Safe Drivers on the Roads, Testing and Training?

Transport, Travel and Later Life

ISBN: 978-1-78714-624-2, eISBN: 978-1-78714-623-5

Publication date: 1 December 2017


Changes in physiology associated with ageing mean increased concern for the safety of older drivers and the risk they may pose on other road users. The risk of older drivers is distorted by their fragility; they are more likely to be injured or die in road collisions compared to a younger person. Older drivers are, overall, safe drivers who pose similar risks to other road users as middle-aged drivers, but who are at risk themselves because of their fragility. The fragility is greater in older females than older men; females over the age of 80 are nine times more likely to die from their injuries compared to 40–49-year old females, while men are at least five times more likely. Older drivers are overrepresented in collisions at junctions that have no formal traffic control and underrepresented in crashes that involve excess speed. While it is not possible to put traffic signals in every junction, it is suggested consideration be given to mini roundabouts or three-way stop-sign junctions (as found in United States and South Africa). There is no evidence that stringent testing for licence renewal has advantages in reducing older driver risk. Assessments at specialist centres, such as mobility assessment centres, are a more effective way to pick up drivers who are no longer safe to drive.



Mitchell, K. (2017), "Are Older People Safe Drivers on the Roads, Testing and Training?", Musselwhite, C. (Ed.) Transport, Travel and Later Life (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 10), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-63.



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