If the thought of being a passenger in a vehicle driven by a 16-year-old makes you a bit nervous, you are not alone, and you are justified in your concern. Similarly, you may have found yourself as a passenger in an elderly person’s vehicle and felt just as anxious.
Experience, cognition, reaction time, and distracted driving all factor in to how age affects driver safety. As such, middle-aged adult drivers are positioned as the safest drivers statistically.
Unfortunately, even if you never set foot in a teen or elderly driver’s vehicle and are a safe driver in the safest driver demographic, you still must share the road with younger and older drivers. If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another party’s inexperience, distraction, or negligence, the Frickey Law Firm is here to help.
Youthful Drivers Plagued by Inexperience and Distraction
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) states that teenage drivers “are among the most dangerous on the road.” A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms CDOT’s findings, concluding that “[y]oung, inexperienced drivers have higher crash rates than older, more experienced drivers in the United States.”
In the NHTSA’s study, drivers ages 15-20 are classified as young drivers, and motor vehicle crashes were found to be a leading cause of death for this demographic. Young drivers accounted for 8% of drivers involved in fatal crashes.
In addition to inexperience, young drivers have a tendency to be distracted while driving. Individuals between the ages of 15-19 made up 16% of fatal accidents where driver distraction was a factor, though they only account for 6% of all drivers involved in fatal car accidents. CDOT reports that for 16 and 17-year-old drivers, “carrying just one passenger increases the crash risk by about 50 percent.”
Age-Related Decline Associated with Increased Risk Among Older Drivers
Older drivers, classified as drivers aged 65 and older, have the advantage of experience. They are also a lower risk for distracted driving than other age groups. Further, they typically drive shorter distances and with less frequency than younger drivers.
Despite all that is working in favor of safe driving for this group, these advantages don’t negate the disadvantages associated with older drivers. Older drivers accounted for 18% of traffic fatalities in a NHTSA report, with fatality rates highest among those 85 and older.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) details several factors that contribute to the older population’s higher risk for traffic accidents, including:
- Physical and cognitive decline
- Vision impairment
- Reduced spatial judgement
- Medications that can cause impairment
While there is much debate about when and how to determine whether an older driver should be allowed on the road, the reality is that you are likely sharing the road with many people who may not be able to safely navigate traffic. Defensive driving and avoidance of distractions while behind the wheel are your best safeguards against motor vehicle accidents.
Contact us for a Free Consultation
No matter how prudent a driver you are, operating a motor vehicle poses many risks, including those associated with the youngest and oldest drivers on the road. At the Frickey Law Firm, we’ve worked with many accident victims to secure compensation for their injuries.
Our car accident attorneys have been representing accident victims in Lakewood, Denver, Boulder, and surrounding areas of Colorado for over 50 years. Call us today at 303-237-7373 for a complimentary consultation to see how we can help you through this difficult time.