Fatality Facts 2016Older people

Older people

In 2015, motor vehicle crashes accounted for less than 1 percent of fatalities among people 70 and older. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2016. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 2015 fatal injury data. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.htmlPeople ages 70 and older are less likely to be licensed to drive compared with younger people, and drivers 70 and older also drive fewer miles. However, older drivers are keeping their licenses longer and driving more miles than in the past.

Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at age 70-74 and are highest among drivers 85 and older. The increased fatal crash risk among older drivers is largely due to their increased susceptibility to injury, particularly chest injuries, and medical complications, rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes. Cicchino, J.B. 2015. Why have fatality rates among older drivers declined? The relative contributions of changes in survivability and crash involvement. Accident Analysis and Prevention 83:67-73.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Posted December 2017.

Population and mileage rates

In 2016, motor vehicle crash death rates per capita increased among males at ages 75-79 and among females gradually beginning at ages 60-64. Males had substantially higher death rates than females for ages 16 and older.

Motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2016

Motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2016
AgeMaleFemaleTotal
PopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeaths*Rate
<16 33,277,658 783 2.4 31,894,402 647 2.0 65,172,060 1,430 2.2
16-19 8,659,696 1,608 18.6 8,273,312 804 9.7 16,933,008 2,413 14.3
20-24 11,491,065 3,216 28.0 10,889,963 1,160 10.7 22,381,028 4,379 19.6
25-29 11,631,474 2,830 24.3 11,259,410 958 8.5 22,890,884 3,789 16.6
30-34 10,968,264 2,254 20.6 10,818,095 847 7.8 21,786,359 3,102 14.2
35-39 10,376,442 1,908 18.4 10,397,463 655 6.3 20,773,905 2,565 12.3
40-44 9,776,321 1,815 18.6 9,919,930 605 6.1 19,696,251 2,420 12.3
45-49 10,375,955 1,796 17.3 10,571,668 667 6.3 20,947,623 2,463 11.8
50-54 10,730,184 2,080 19.4 11,108,872 774 7.0 21,839,056 2,854 13.1
55-59 10,683,406 2,103 19.7 11,296,702 669 5.9 21,980,108 2,774 12.6
60-64 9,315,632 1,747 18.8 10,167,404 641 6.3 19,483,036 2,389 12.3
65-69 7,936,919 1,372 17.3 8,883,164 600 6.8 16,820,083 1,972 11.7
70-74 5,454,190 942 17.3 6,356,057 498 7.8 11,810,247 1,440 12.2
75-79 3,723,619 736 19.8 4,644,276 452 9.7 8,367,895 1,188 14.2
80-84 2,453,255 619 25.2 3,412,384 432 12.7 5,865,639 1,052 17.9
≥85 2,224,843 648 29.1 4,155,488 464 11.2 6,380,331 1,112 17.4

In 2008, the rate of passenger vehicle driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled began to increase noticeably at ages 70-74. Drivers 85 and older had the highest rate of fatal crash involvement.Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2013. [Unpublished analysis of 2008 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Household Travel Survey]. Arlington, VA.

Passenger vehicle fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age, 2008

Passenger vehicle fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age, 2008
AgeCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 4,040 87,827,113,152 4.6
20-24 5,758 150,169,083,027 3.8
25-29 4,467 125,785,167,292 3.6
30-34 3,389 187,437,561,189 1.8
35-39 3,255 257,638,960,689 1.3
40-44 3,180 331,007,230,699 1.0
45-49 3,094 228,855,849,762 1.4
50-54 2,740 231,251,749,983 1.2
55-59 2,287 208,672,980,163 1.1
60-64 1,889 163,360,796,073 1.2
65-69 1,322 97,438,632,690 1.4
70-74 1,167 55,293,327,384 2.1
75-79 1,050 39,017,246,582 2.7
80-84 837 19,901,904,422 4.2
≥85 677 7,705,924,745 8.8
Total* 39,543 2,195,141,011,613 1.8

Crash types

Among passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016, the proportion in multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections increased steadily starting at ages 60-64. Multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections accounted for 42 percent of fatal crash involvements among drivers 80 and older, compared with 20 percent for drivers ages 16-59.

Passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes by age and crash type, 2016
AgeMultiple-vehicle intersection crashesOther multiple-vehicle crashes Single-vehicle intersection crashes Other single-vehicle crashes All crashes*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
16-19 649 22 976 32 132 4 1,251 42 3,008 100
20-24 1,072 19 2,042 37 305 5 2,159 39 5,578 100
25-29 917 19 1,986 41 246 5 1,742 36 4,891 100
30-34 762 19 1,671 42 193 5 1,384 35 4,010 100
35-39 635 20 1,369 42 150 5 1,069 33 3,223 100
40-44 624 21 1,259 43 183 6 889 30 2,955 100
45-49 558 20 1,228 44 146 5 848 31 2,780 100
50-54 606 21 1,232 42 172 6 897 31 2,907 100
55-59 600 22 1,117 42 152 6 807 30 2,676 100
60-64 575 25 943 40 126 5 696 30 2,340 100
65-69 498 25 796 41 102 5 563 29 1,959 100
70-74 416 29 582 40 74 5 372 26 1,444 100
75-79 357 33 367 34 54 5 290 27 1,068 100
80-84 356 40 287 33 43 5 196 22 882 100
≥85 372 43 261 30 38 4 187 22 858 100

Pedestrians

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population in 2016 was highest for people ages 50-54 and 80-84, especially among males in these age groups (4.2 and 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively). For all age groups the rate of pedestrian deaths per capita was higher for males than females.

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age and gender, 2016
AgeMaleFemaleTotal
PopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeathsRatePopulationDeaths*Rate
<13 26,952,933 114 0.4 25,818,702 81 0.3 52,771,635 195 0.4
13-15 6,324,725 53 0.8 6,075,700 33 0.5 12,400,425 86 0.7
16-19 8,659,696 154 1.8 8,273,312 79 1.0 16,933,008 233 1.4
20-24 11,491,065 323 2.8 10,889,963 119 1.1 22,381,028 443 2.0
25-29 11,631,474 323 2.8 11,259,410 127 1.1 22,890,884 450 2.0
30-34 10,968,264 301 2.7 10,818,095 132 1.2 21,786,359 433 2.0
35-39 10,376,442 286 2.8 10,397,463 121 1.2 20,773,905 408 2.0
40-44 9,776,321 298 3.0 9,919,930 110 1.1 19,696,251 408 2.1
45-49 10,375,955 303 2.9 10,571,668 123 1.2 20,947,623 426 2.0
50-54 10,730,184 453 4.2 11,108,872 172 1.5 21,839,056 625 2.9
55-59 10,683,406 431 4.0 11,296,702 151 1.3 21,980,108 583 2.7
60-64 9,315,632 350 3.8 10,167,404 121 1.2 19,483,036 471 2.4
65-69 7,936,919 253 3.2 8,883,164 100 1.1 16,820,083 353 2.1
70-74 5,454,190 183 3.4 6,356,057 83 1.3 11,810,247 266 2.3
75-79 3,723,619 137 3.7 4,644,276 89 1.9 8,367,895 226 2.7
80-84 2,453,255 107 4.4 3,412,384 64 1.9 5,865,639 172 2.9
≥85 2,224,843 80 3.6 4,155,488 61 1.5 6,380,331 141 2.2

Alcohol

Seven percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers 70 years and older in 2016 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared with 17 percent for drivers ages 60-69 and 35 percent for drivers ages 16-59.

Fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BAC ≥ 0.08 percent by age, 2016
AgeDrivers killedEstimated drivers killed with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumberNumber%
16-59 years 12,818 4,503 35
60-69 years 2,042 340 17
≥70 years 2,632 172 7