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Collisions involving senior drivers: high-risk conditions and locations

Mayhew, Daniel R.; Simpson, Herbert M.; Ferguson, Susan A.
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
June 2006

Objectives: To better understand the characteristics of crashes involving senior drivers 65 and older, studies of these crashes were reviewed.
Methods: The review focused primarily on North American studies published since 1990. Studies point to important differences between the crashes of senior drivers and those of younger drivers.
Results: Numerous studies have found that senior drivers' crashes are much more likely than crashes of younger drivers to occur at intersections. Senior drivers have particularly high rates of involvement in intersection crashes when they are turning, and even more so when they are turning left. Senior drivers are more likely than younger drivers to have been at fault in these situations, typically because they failed to yield the right-of-way, disregarded the traffic signal, or committed some other traffic violation. Studies also suggest that the extent of overinvolvement of senior drivers in certain types of crashes generally increases with advancing age.
Conclusions: The extent to which the distinctive characteristics of senior drivers' crashes may be due to changing travel patterns associated with aging, or physical or cognitive impairments related to the aging process, is unclear. Further research is needed to understand the pre-crash circumstances of older drivers' intersection crashes.