Motorists aged 50 and over are safer risk, survey shows

MOTORISTS aged 50 or over have far fewer accidents and commit fewer offences than younger drivers even though they use their cars more often, according to a survey published today.

Under-50s are twice as likely to get parking tickets or go through red lights than the older drivers, the survey, for the Direct Line insurance company, said .

Older drivers also spent less on new cars, bought smaller vehicles than their younger counterparts and kept them longer. They made more use of unleaded petrol and were more careful about drinking and driving, said the survey, conducted by MORI. It showed that:

Eighty per cent of motorists aged over 50 drive every day or on most days, compared with 76 per cent of 17 to 49-year-olds.

Under-50s drive an average of 11,300 miles a year, while over-50s do 9,100 miles a year.

In all age groups, male drivers average 12,100 miles a year and women 8,500.

Forty-seven per cent of the 17-49s have two or more cars per household, compared with 29 per cent of over-50s.

Eighteen per cent of under-50s and 11 per cent of over-50s had a collision in the past two years, while 16 per cent of under-50s and 12 per cent of over-50s reported their parked car having been hit by another vehicle.

In the past year, 18 per cent of under-50s and 7 per cent of over-50s got parking tickets, while 6 per cent of under-50s and 2 per cent of over-50s were caught speeding.

Twice as many cars owned by under-50s were broken into as those owned by over-50s in the past two years - 16 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

Car thefts affected 7 per cent of under-50s and 5 per cent of over-50s in the past two year.

Almost twice as many over-50s as under-50s bought a new car in the past two years - 38 per cent compared to 20 per cent.

Younger drivers spent more on average on new cars than older motorists - pounds 10,400 as opposed to pounds 8,900.

Direct Line said that the over-50s would account for one third of the population by 2001, which would have a major impact on driving behaviour and trends.

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