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Why do the elderly have high fatal car accident rates?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When you look at the fatal car accident rate per 100 million miles driven, the first thing that stands out is that young teen drivers have some of the highest rates in the country. As an age group, they’re involved in a lot of catastrophic accidents. 

The reason that most people give for this is that teen drivers are inexperienced, and they are more prone to taking risks. As a result, they tend to cause accidents that many other drivers, in older age groups, would avoid.

However, the chart also shows that the elderly have a fatal car accident rate that is very close to the same. Sorting the data by the number of miles driven allows you to compare both age groups. Since older drivers are clearly very experienced are traditionally less likely to take risks, why do they have such a high rate?

Older drivers are simply more likely to pass away

For teenagers, the high accident and fatality rate reflects their own ability to drive. For the elderly, the high fatality rate reflects their physical condition. They are more likely to pass away in accidents because they often have other physical or health issues, or they are simply frailer and less likely to recover from serious injuries.

What this means is that the high fatal accident rate may be more often due to accidents caused by other drivers. It is just that the elderly are more likely to pass away, not that they’re reckless or causing these crashes. If you have lost a loved one in an accident like this, or if you have been injured yourself, make sure you know what legal options you have.