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Drivers 65 and older hits record high

Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 10:57:08-05

America has reached a new record high on the roadways this year. According to the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration's data a record high number of licensed drivers, 41.7 million, are 65 years or older.

Those numbers equal out to nearly one in five drivers, a statistic that is outpacing their teenage counterparts.  

AAA and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation say it's good that more veteran drivers are dominating the roadways since they've found them to be the safest drivers.

Meanwhile, AAA studies found young millennials, ages 19 to 24, are the very worst drivers on the road. The survey found 88 percent of millennial drivers admitted running red lights, speeding in residential and school zones, as well as, texting while driving. 

Senior driver Larry Gabrysiak says he and his wife learned about these poor driving habits first hand. 

"My wife was rear-ended by a young teenager who was texting. So, I would say worse would be young people," Gabrysiak said. 

But mature driver Linda Baehr says she's not a fan of lumping drivers together. 

"I see plenty of older people texting and driving too... I think younger folks haven't gone through some of the things that we've gone through. And aren't quite as aware of the consequences," Baehr said. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's data on two-car fatal crashes between old and younger drivers say the more seasoned driver is two times more likely to be hit. 

While older drivers are seen as safer, AAA's Director of Public Affairs, Nick Jarmusz, agrees with NHTSA's stats showing ages plays against them in crashes.   
"What the problem for seniors is that when they do get into a crash. They are much more likely to be injured or killed in that crash," Jarmusz said. 

Unfortunately not all crashes can be avoided, but AAA says veteran drivers using necessary and affordable car adaptations will keep them on the road longer. Items such as:

  • Seat pads and cushions
  • Convex/multifaceted mirrors 
  • Pedal extensions
  • Steering wheel covers

Hand Controls are all items AAA says 90 percent of older drivers don't take advantage of. 

By having these items installed seniors won't be among those who are two times more likely to become depressed and five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility because they've stopped driving.