Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country, is the most dangerous state for senior drivers, a recent study says. An estimated 14 million Americans reported having been involved in a vehicle incident caused by an elderly driver a 2015 study shows. A recent study conducted by Caring.com, a resource website for seniors, using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau, shows the top ten most dangerous states for seniors.
The study compared the number of individuals age 65 and older who were killed in auto accidents with that age group’s share of the population in each state. “New Mexico is the least dangerous state for elderly drivers. North Dakota, Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Mississippi, and South Carolina are the only other places where seniors accounted for less auto-related deaths than their share of the population projected,” according to Caring.com
In Rhode Island, seniors accounted for 35 percent of auto-related deaths in 2014, but make up only 16 percent of the state’s population. Maine, Minnesota, and New York are the second, third and fourth most dangerous.
Every day about 586 senior drivers are injured and 15 die in car accidents across the country in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Per mile traveled, deadly crash rates spiked significantly at ages 70-74 and are highest among those age 85 and older.
Fatal accidents are largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and complications among seniors, according to the CDC, instead of an increased tendency to get into crashes. Decline in vision and cognitive functioning, like the ability to reason and memory, as well as physical changes, may also affect an elderly person’s driving abilities.
“It’s never easy to tell mom or grandpa to stop driving, but these numbers show why it’s crucial to have that conversation before it’s too late,” said Dayna Steele, Caring.com’s Chief Caring Expert in a statement.
“Many seniors think they’ll lose their independence if they stop driving, so investigate alternatives like ride-sharing services and public transportation. Also, try to offer rides from family members, friends and neighbors when possible,” added Steele.
To reduce accidents involving the elderly in America, 31 states have stricter regulations for senior drivers, such as frequent renewal cycles for licenses. Eleven states require older drivers to pass a vision test after a certain age, and two states, Illinois and New Hampshire, require a supplemental road test at age 75. In Rhode Island, the no. 1 most dangerous state for senior drivers, a state law mandates more frequent driver’s license renewals for those over 75.
Top 10 most dangerous cities in America for elderly drivers: