• Statistics on road safety and elderly drivers

    The hands of an elderly driver grasp a steering wheel.

    • As people age, there is a decline in many of the abilities considered necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle. Older drivers need more visible road signs and pavement markings.10 In the U.S., nearly 8,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day—a trend that is expected to continue well into the future. Vision deterioration of the aging population should be considered as part of your traffic safety strategy. The following facts indicate elderly drivers will continue to have an impact on road safety.

    Aging Population

      • In 2015 there are 47.8 million drivers 65 and older, according to NHTSA1
      • 29% increase in people 65 and older from 2006 to 20151
      • In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 20122
      • Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people ages 60 and over is expected to double3
      • In 2050, more than 1 in 5 people will be 60 years or older3

    Elderly Drivers and Their Eyes

      • Today, 6.5 million Americans over age 65 have a severe visual impairment, according to the Longitudinal Prevalence of Major Eye Diseases 2003 study.6
      • AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the aging population. More than one in 10 white Americans over age 80 has vision loss from AMD (Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group, 2004).6
      • Blindness or low vision affects approximately 1 in 28 Americans older than 40 years (Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group, 2004).6

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    Accident Statistics for Older Drivers

      • According to a recent study from AAA, “seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years.”8
      • In 2015, more than 6,800 older adults were killed and more than 260,000 were treated in emergency departments for motor vehicle crash injuries. This amounts to 19 older adults killed and 712 injured in crashes on average every day.5
      • Drivers 65 and older are 16 percent likelier than adult drivers (those 25–64 years old) to cause an accident7
      • Involvement in fatal crashes, per mile traveled, begins increasing among drivers ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers ages 85 and older.5
      • Traffic deaths are three times greater at night than during the day, though only 20 percent of driving is done after dark.9

    Conclusion

    • By 2020, nearly one in five drivers in the U.S. will be 65 or older and exhibiting the natural decline in sensory, cognitive and physical function that makes driving more of a challenge. These drivers need more visible signs made with high performance reflective sign sheeting to help provide more reaction time and help reduce traffic accidents. See the potential benefits of our most reflective sign sheeting, 3M Diamond Grade™ DG3 Sheeting.


    Want to learn more on aging eyes?

    • Read more on what happens to drivers' eyes as they age and the impact it could have on your community’s road safety.