35 Elderly Drivers’ Safety

Based on Research by Jonathon Rolison, Ph.D. Psychology Science Minute written by Fabian Consbruck.

Have you been frustrated or impatient when driving behind an elderly driver?  A recent UK study by Jonathon Rolison and colleagues reviewed accident and fatality data from the past 20 years. They concluded that the elderly generation is no more dangerous on the road when compared to young drivers in their 20’s.

Out of 100 million driving trips, 13 ended in a fatality for those less than 29 years of age. This is not significantly different to those over the age of 70, where 14 trips out of 100 million ended in a fatality. In 2009, drivers over 70 accounted for only 10% of the total deaths that year, whereas young drivers accounted for 25%. These are important findings in light of the baby boomers entering retirement and the need to focus on keeping them and our roads safe.

The researchers also looked at pedestrian deaths.  Unfortunately, older adults are 5 times more at risk of being struck by a vehicle and killed than younger adults. The elderly made up 37% of all pedestrian deaths, far more than other age groups.

So when driving, let’s be more tolerant of elderly drivers and no matter what age, watch out more for bicyclists and pedestrians!


Rolison, J.J., Hewson, P.J., Hellier, E. and Poppy Husband. (2012). Risk of Fatal Injury in Older Adult Drivers, Passengers, and Pedestrians. J Amer Geriatric Society, 1-5.

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