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Senior drivers no less safe than younger adults

August 27, 2012

While some people may think older adults are not as safe on the road as their younger counterparts, a recent study helps prove them wrong. A large study out of the United Kingdom shows similar rates of fatal automobile accidents in adults under 30 and motorists over 70, reports Reuters.

To examine the safety of the different age groups, researchers looked at 20 years' worth of police records - from 1989 to 2009. For drivers 29-years-old and younger, about 13 in every 100 million trips ended in a fatal accident. Similarly, in motorists 70 and older the figure was about 14 in every 100 million trips. Though the statistics may be surprising to some, others believe it all has to do with how seniors approach healthy aging and getting behind the wheel.

"Older adults in a way are the ideal drivers, as they control their exposure to risk," study leader Jonathan Rolison told Reuters. "If it's a rainy day, the older adults will stay at home, whereas people in middle-age groups still have to go to work or drop kids off at school."

Despite the findings, the fact remains that there are seniors who may want to take caution behind the wheel. Furthermore, there are some older adults who may not be fit to continue driving. Much of the decision comes from self-evaluation, and according to AAA there are some factors seniors should consider when determining if they should stay on the road.

There are several warning signs seniors should pay attention to. For starters, indecision while on the road can be telling, whether it's concerns about merging or worries at four-way intersections. Furthermore, when family members express concerns about a senior's driving, it may be a good time for them to at least have a discussion.