Regulating Older Drivers

Regulating Older Drivers: Are New Policies Needed?

David S. Loughran
Seth A. Seabury
Laura Zakaras
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 38
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/op189icj
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Regulating Older Drivers
    Book Description:

    Are older drivers posing increasing risk to the public? If so, what public policies might mitigate that risk? Older drivers (those 65 and older) are slightly likelier than drivers aged 25 to 64 to cause an accident, but drivers aged 15 to 24 are nearly three times likelier than older drivers to do so. The authors of this paper conclude that stricter licensing policies targeting older drivers would likely not improve traffic safety substantially.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4284-2
    Subjects: Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    In July 2003, an 86-year-old man drove his 1982 Buick into a crowd of pedestrians shopping at an open-air farmers’ market in Santa Monica, California, killing 10 and injuring more than 50. In October 2005, a 93-year-old man struck a pedestrian in St. Petersburg, Florida, and did not notice the corpse hanging out his windshield until a tollbooth operator stopped him (“National Briefing,” 2005). Shocking incidents such as these have reinvigorated a long-simmering debate over the riskiness of older drivers and led to calls for stricter state licensing policies for these drivers.¹ The issue is particularly important in light of...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Estimating the Relative Riskiness of Older Drivers
    (pp. 5-10)

    A commonly employed measure of riskiness is accidents divided by vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This statistic provides a measure of the frequency with which drivers are involved in accidents. Importantly, it accounts for how many miles drivers drive, which varies across age groups of drivers. Older drivers, for example, drive fewer miles on average than do younger drivers.

    The data needed to compute this statistic are readily available. Data on accidents can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s General Estimates System (GES), which annually records the characteristics of a nationally representative probability sample of accidents reported to the...

  10. CHAPTER THREE The Relative Riskiness of Older Drivers
    (pp. 11-14)

    The objective of stricter licensing requirements and other policies targeting older drivers is to make the roads safer for all. But, to debate whether such policies are needed, we need to answer the following questions: How much likelier are older drivers than other drivers to cause a crash? How much less do older drivers drive than other drivers do? How much more vulnerable are they than other drivers to being injured or killed in accidents? To what extent do older drivers take steps on their own to mitigate the risks of driving? Our methods allow us to answer the first...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Policy Implications
    (pp. 15-20)

    Given the physiological and cognitive changes that occur with age, it is natural for policymakers to be concerned about how the aging of the U.S. driving population will affect traffic safety. But just how concerned should policymakers be? In this final chapter, we examine the policy implications of our findings on the relative riskiness, exposure, and fragility of older drivers.

    There are two reasons for the public to be concerned about older drivers: (1) the potential danger they pose to other drivers and passengers and (2) the danger they pose to themselves. Relatively stringent licensing policies for older drivers are...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 21-24)