Wednesday, February 18, 2004


From the AAA foundation

Drivers over the age of 65 are almost twice (1.78 times) as likely to die in car crashes as drivers age 55 to 64, according to a new study released today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study found that the probability of death or injury in car crashes increase with age, as does the likelihood that an older driver will be involved in a left-turn crash, affected by illness, or suffer from lapses in perception that could contribute to a crash.

The "Older Driver Involvement in Injury Crashes" report also revealed that drivers over 75 were over two-and-a-half times (2.59) as likely to die in a car crash and drivers over 85 were almost four times (3.72) as likely to die when compared to drivers aged 55 to 64.

The reasons that elderly patients are more likely to die in a collision are mainly twofold: the diminished physiologic reserve in the elderly patient and the high incidence of medical comorbidities. As one becomes older, depth perception becomes more of a problem, which is why that the elderly are more likely to be involved in collisions making left turns. This increases the potential for injury, as the vehicle is struck on the driver's side, imparting more of the force of the collision on the patient.

As the population ages this will become more of a problem. The latest revision of Advanced Trauma Life Support has a chapter devoted to trauma at the extremes of age.

A good graphic presentation of the data may be found here.
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