Statistics improving for elderly drivers

KIMT News 3 – There’s a certain stereotype about elderly drivers, but a new study is suggesting, your assumptions about grandma or grandpa’s abilities behind the wheel may be wrong. It turns out they are some of the best drivers on the road.

Years ago safety experts predicted that accidents would increase as the nation’s population aged, but new findings from the “Insurance Institute for Highway Safety” are proving them wrong.

From 1997 to 2012, fatal crash rates for licensed drivers fell by 42% for older drivers compared to 30% for younger drivers.

You may be wondering what contributes to this. Mikel Ghere with Drive Pro Driver Education says, “Well I think the biggest thing as with anything is experience and they do at age 70 you no longer can renew your license online, they do it every 2 years.”

KIMT News 3 – Along with experience, the advanced safety features in cars help and the elderly are taking better care of their health which factors into their ability to think fast on the road.

Driving instructor Connie Sjostrom with AARP says, “Apparently the seniors are more fit, maybe taking better ownership of their own health, working to improve their reaction time.”

The study also finds that while all demographics are seeing a decline in crashes, the largest was among those 80 and over.

Those at the AARP believe, you can also attribute this to older people being more proactive in knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

For anyone who wants a refresher course on safe driving practices, AARP is hosting a smart driving class on May 14th at NorthIowaAreaCommunity College.

To register call 641-923-2252 or visit their website – http://www.aarp.org/drive

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