Older drivers are safer, says research

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Indy Lifestyle Online

New research from the UK suggests that drivers over the age of 70 are "considerably safer than younger drivers," despite popular misconceptions.

The age group is no more likely to be involved in a crash than any other group, according to data released January 18 by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Whilst drivers over the age of 70 make up just eight percent of road users, they are involved in four percent of crashes that involve injury. Drivers who are in their teens or 20s, however, make up 15 percent of total road users and are involved in 34 percent of crashes. Older drivers are also more regular drivers, according to the IAM, as British men in their seventies make more trips as car drivers than men in their late teens and 20s.

"The report contradicts the common assumption that older drivers are a danger on the roads," said Neil Greig, IAM's director of Policy and Research. "Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we need to make them aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them cope with these risks."

Drivers over 70 are better at self regulating, suggests the report, taking fewer journeys on highways and avoiding journeys in poor light, wet weather or peak times. They are safer on bends and overtaking than the average 50 year old, but are more at risk at traffic circles, junctions and highway ramps on high-speed roads. Crashes in which older women are to blame peak about five years earlier than those for older men.

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