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Senior Driving – A Recent Study of Driving Habits from Kansas State

Kevin Dunlap

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Almost any insurance agent dealing in personal liability will quote that the two most dangerous types of drivers on American roads today are teenagers then followed by a close second by senior citizens.

As people age many abilities begin to deteriorate. These can include your main senses like eyesight and hearing and other abilities like motor reflexes and cognitive thought.

One thing that seniors do tend to have over teenagers is many years of experience. What teens have over seniors is faster reflexes.

A recent study conducted at Kansas State University began to delve into insurance rates and the driving habits of senior citizens. Their results were quite fascinating.

The research defined a senior citizen as anyone over the age of 65. The study broke down accidents into three major age groups. The age groups included 1. ) 15 to 25; 2. ) 25 to 65; and 3. ) 65+. The study looked at the number of crashes and the number of incidents in comparison to the amount of hours driving.

One other parameter for this study was for a state like Kansas with few metropolitan areas thereby a lower frequency of public transportation whereby you must drive to get to your destination.

The study showed very few accidents for the age group of seniors when compared strictly by age. Well, this can be very misleading. Since seniors are fewer in number and they tend to drive a lot less than their younger counterparts another form of normalization must be considered. When the study looked at the number of accidents in comparison to the number of hours spent on the road then this result showed the seniors as having the highest accidental crash rate.

The study showed some other interesting facts when comparing teens and seniors. First was that most senior driving accidents involved straight on collisions (running into a vehicle in front of you in the same lane) or left turn collisions. The largest number of accidents involving teen drivers was running off the road and hitting another object.

You may ask why the left turn collisions for seniors? This is due to the fact that seniors start to lose their ability to judge speed and distance, thus they think they can cross through an intersection and may end up in a collision.

Another cause for senior accidents is the aforementioned of loss of eyesight. Seniors have a growing tendency to not be able to read road signs or left turn green arrows.

Thus, not all accidents are due to the inexperience of teens. Many are also the result of an aging driver. There does need to be stricter rules for renewal of driver licenses. Also, if you are starting to notice that your elderly loved one is starting to be more dangerous behind the wheel to themselves or others then it may be time to start that talk about handing over the keys.

Kevin is president of Driver Watch USA ( which is a driving monitoring business geared at keeping your loved ones safe while driving. You put our How's My Driving decal on your car (much like those seen on trucks and buses). Our goal is to ensure your loved ones are safe while driving on today's roads.


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