National Crash Data for Older Drivers

Older people are more likely to die in crashes that younger people would survive. Over ten years years, the proportion of older drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by 15 percent.

The 43.1 million Americans who were 65 or older in 2012 are 14 percent of the population, 17 percent of traffic fatalities, and 9 percent of all people injured in traffic crashes.

In 2012, 5,560 people 65 and over died and 214,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Older people are more likely to die in crashes that younger people would survive.

From 2003 to 2012, the population of those 65 and older increased by 20 percent. The number of licensed older drivers increased by 21 percent, to 35 million licensed older drivers in 2011.

In these 10 years, the proportion of older drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by 15 percent.

Older drivers now make up 16 percent of all licensed drivers and this will increase because the first of the Baby Boomers turned 65 in 2011. The retirement age for Americans has also increased steadily – from 60 in 1996 to 67 in 2012.

Older drivers and passengers are more vulnerable in a crash. At crash speeds of just over 31 mph, the risk of sustaining a serious injury increases dramatically. A 50-year-old female has about a 10-percent risk of a serious injury in a frontal crash, but an 80-year-old female has about a 40-percent risk.

Source: NHTSA