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Why do accident fatalities go up for elderly drivers?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Wrongful Death

If you look at the total number of fatalities on the road that involve those who are 70 years old and older, you may feel like these car crashes almost never happen. After all, even when you count all of the people in this age group who passed away during a single year, it’s less than one percent of the total.

There are a few different reasons for this. One is that these individuals are less likely to have a driver’s license than someone in middle age. Additionally, even those who do drive likely spend less time on the road. A worker in their 40s commutes back and forth every day, for example, but a retired grandparent may simply be at home.

But when you look at the rates, which means considering the total number of fatalities per miles traveled, then you will see an increase for those between 70 and 74 years old. You’ll also find that the car accident fatality rates are highest for people who are at least 85 years old. Why do elderly individuals have such a high crash rate if they make up such a small percentage of the total fatalities?

Injuries have a bigger impact

In general, the reason is that these individuals are more susceptible to serious injuries. If someone who is 75 suffers chest injuries or head injuries in a crash, they are much more likely to pass away from those injuries than a driver who is in their 20s or 30s. So it is not as if elderly drivers are actively causing more fatal accidents. They are just more likely to pass away in these crashes because of their age and the physical frailty that age brings with it.

Have you lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another driver? You may deserve substantial compensation.