Older drivers - safe or unsafe?

Research report posted on 30/03/16 |
Safer Road Users
An analysis by road safety researcher Jean Hopkin that compares the crash circumstances of 30,000 drivers over the age of 60 with the crash circumstances of 28,000 drivers in their 50s, over the seven year period between 2000 and 2006

The key message of this report is that older drivers (drivers over the age of 60) as a group are safer than most other age groups, and substantially safer than drivers in their teens and twenties ie 8 per cent of drivers are over 70, yet they are involved in around 4 per cent of injury crashes, but the 15 per cent of drivers who are in their and twenties are involved in 34 per cent of injury crashes.

As a group and generalising, older drivers tend not to commit speeding offences, they don’t drink and drive, they don’t take illegal drugs; they are also more likely to adopt a more cautious and restrained driving style. This shows in the crash statistics, eg they have smaller proportions of KSI crashes on bends, and while overtaking, while in 30mph areas their safety performance overall is about the same as drivers in their 50s 

Older drivers tend to ‘self regulate’ their driving, eg compared with drivers in their 50s, older drivers have a smaller proportion of KSI crashes in peak traffic periods, in the dark and on motorways, because they tend to avoid driving at times and places they are not comfortable with but older drivers are particularly at risk at junctions on high speed roads, and in crashes where no other vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist, is involved.

Supporting media

  • elderly-driver_2164765k
    IAM Older Drivers 2010
    5.4 MB