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AAA: Drivers in their 60s are no less safe than those in their 30s

December 6, 2012

With advancements to medical science pushing lifespans ever higher, there's no wonder the U.S. population is growing older. There are an estimated 78 million baby boomers, and roughly 10,000 of them turn 65 each day. With this growth in the aged population, there has been some concern over whether senior drivers will be able to stay safe on the road, but a recent report from AAA found that older motorists may actually be safer drivers than their younger counterparts.

There are approximately 34 million licensed drivers over the age of 65, and although there's a common assumption that they get in more accidents, statistics found that the crash rate for people in their 60s is about the same as it is for those in their 30s. Furthermore, motorists in their 80s have a lower crash rate than drivers in their late teens and 20s.

Part of the reason for the surprising figures may be the fact that cars today are better equipped to cater to older drivers. AAA suggests that seniors looking to stay behind the wheel as long as possible should consider a vehicle with features such as thick steering wheels, push-to-start ignition, large buttons on the dashboard and a driver's seat that is not too low to the ground.

"With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, we know that families will be coping with these age-related driving safety issues for years to come," said AAA president & CEO Robert Darbelnet. "The good news is that specific 'smart features' on today's cars can help older drivers and their families deal with these conditions."

Being able to drive later in life is crucial to independent living, so it's important for seniors to take steps that make it easier to do so. For instance, many older adults avoid accidents by staying off the road at night or during inclement weather.