Higher Risk of Injury for Elderly Drivers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/18/04

Higher Risk of Injury for Elderly Drivers

How old is too old to get behind the wheel of a car?

It can be an agonizing issue among families with elderly drivers. And while it's already been known that, after teenagers, older drivers have the second highest rate of accidents.

A new study finds that in an accident, seniors are way more likely than others, to be killed or seriously injured. Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute analyzed 4 million serious crashes in the last 25 years, and it found that compared to middle aged drivers, those 65 and over were twice as likely to be killed. Those 75 and over are 3 times as likely; and those 85 and over are 4 times as likely.

But there is still some disagreement over what to do about this. The Auto Club, AAA, for instance, opposes legal crackdowns on license-renewals. Instead, it urges seniors to take refresher courses, and recommends their children and doctors monitor their driving.

However the author of today's study, Lindsay Griffin of the Texas Transportation Institute, says he's not sure that's enough. "Just as we have had graduated licensure programs for example, there may be a need at some point in time to consider graduated de-licensing programs."

With the graying of America as the baby boomers grow older, the debate is certain to become even more controversial.

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