The U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a 5-year initiative aimed at ensuring the safety of older drivers and passengers.
“Safety is our highest priority and that includes ensuring the safety of our older drivers, who represent a growing population on our roads,” said U.S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release.
According to data from the NHTSA, older people are at a disadvantage compared to younger people when it comes to their ability to tolerate injury. Although the number of people 65 and older represents only between 12 and 13 percent of the population, they also represent between 14 and 17 percent of all auto accident fatalities.
Since 2009 the number of older people fatally injured in an accident has plateaued, the number is also about 3 percent higher than it was in 2006.
In an effort to address the growing number of elderly drivers and high-risk of injury in an auto accident, the NHTSA is focusing its initiative on three main areas:
Driver behavior Changes in vision, cognition, flexibility and strength may affect older drivers. The NHTSA will work on improving education about these issues.
Vehicle safety The NHTSA will work to promote safety by enhancing built-in safety features such as crash avoidance systems and improvements in vehicle crash worthiness. Clinical and naturalistic driving studies will be considered in an effort to understand the effects of age-related medical conditions.
Data Collecting data is an important way the NHTSA can track and analyze traffic accidents involving senior citizens.
In 2012, more than 30 million licensed drivers were over the age of 65. It is important that we remember to not only worry about teen drivers, but also elderly drivers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, contact a Cincinnati injury lawyer at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to determine what your legal rights are.