Elderly drivers are no more likely to die on the road than those in their 20s, according to a UK study that looked at fatal road accidents over a 20-year period.
There has been a shift in recent years in both the United Kingdom and the United States toward more demanding licensing renewal processes for older adults, who are often assumed to be more dangerous on the road than younger drivers due to reduced eyesight and cognitive abilities.
"The focus is usually on older drivers as a danger to themselves and other drivers," said Jonathan Rolison, who led the study at the University of Plymouth in the UK.
For the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Rolison and his colleagues reviewed UK police records on all fatal road accidents reported between 1989 and 2009.
They found that the risk of dying behind the wheel was similar for older adult drivers and young people every time they got in the car. Thirteen in 100 million driving trips ended in fatality among those under 29 years of age, compared to 14 in 100 million trips for people over 70.
The elderly still accounted for fewer driver deaths overall. In 2009, when 1,138 people died behind the wheel, one in 10 was over age 70, while younger drivers accounted for one in four of those deaths.
For both drivers and passengers, risks were highest at both ends of the age spectrum and dipped among middle-aged people.
Researchers also looked at figures for those struck and killed while walking - and found that the risk of being killed as a pedestrian was five times higher for older people than for the young.
Among older adults, 23 trips in every 100 million were fatal, and they accounted for 37 percent of all pedestrian deaths in 2009.
"Assessing whether older adults can drive is important, but the problem is it leads to policies which are becoming tighter and tighter and distracts us from older adults at risk as pedestrians," Rolison said.
"Older adults in a way are the ideal drivers, as they control their exposure to risk ... If it's a rainy day, the older adults will stay at home, whereas people in middle-age groups still have to go to work or drop kids off at school."
Other experts agreed that more attention should be given to keeping older people safe as passengers and pedestrians, rather than restricting them as drivers, and that with baby boomers aging, now is the time to focus on making pathways and transportation areas more safe.
"You shouldn't assume that your granddad should avoid getting behind the wheel because he won't necessarily be safer walking down the street," said Rolison. SOURCE: bit.ly/OanJJb
Social network to be integrated into Windows software in coming months, CEO says
New supermarket features no human cashiers, scheduled to open to public in early 2017
The organization cited missing letters in some words or mistakes in verses and punctuation in free Quran apps
The intervention in a Chinese company’s bid to buy German chip maker, Aixtron, comes after Chinese companies have spent billions to acquire technology in Europe and the United States.
Malware designed for cellphones are designed to steal email addresses and authentication data stored on the devices to access sensitive data from Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs and other services, Check Point said.
Japan plans to build the world's fastest-known supercomputer as part of a government policy to get back Japan's mojo in the world of technology
The once-mighty Finnish company sold its device business to Microsoft in 2014, where phones were sold under the Lumia brand. But as Microsoft effectively exits the smartphone business, Nokia is set to return.
South Korea denied a request by Google to export digital-map date
Day after releasing new anti-harassment policies, company promotes ad for white supremacists
On trip to US, senior executives in tech industry tell investors of opportunities offered
Facebook today announced that it has purchased CrowdTangle, a 4-year-old tool that publishers use to track how content spreads around the ...
Moscow City Court has upheld a ruling to block the LinkedIn professional network website.
Neither Tesla nor Grohmann have offered details of how much money is to change hands with the Tesla purchase of Grohmann
The presidential election is being debated extensively in the world media. One of the most important topics of discussion is the effect of Google on the US election. Donald Trump has accused Google of manipulating the remaining weeks and hours are now left behind. Trump accused has Google of hiding negative search results about Clinton and showing Clinton ahead in the polls.
Overseas critics of the law have argued that Beijing's new cybersecurity law threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of various sectors deemed "critical", and includes data to be stored on servers located in China