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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Elderly drivers

As the population ages, the percentage of elderly drivers increases. While there are no special traffic rules for older drivers, their reduced physical abilities require them to be especially careful. Most recent Thematic Report on Seniors. 

Physical vulnerability

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Elderly drivers are more likely to hurt themselves than to put others at risk. The fatality rate for drivers over 75 is more than five times higher than the average, and their injury rate is twice as high.

This higher vulnerability is due to the reduced physical abilities of older drivers (i.e. diminished eyesight and hearing, slower reaction time) and less day-to-day experience on the roads.

Experience with age

Seniors are most at risk in traffic as vulnerable road users (VRU). They form a high proportion of casualties as well as being at significantly greater risk per kilometre travelled. As car occupants, they are better protected than as VRU and the absolute number of casualties decreases with age. Nevertheless, their risk per distance travelled still increases. As drivers, seniors are a greater risk to themselves than to other road users.

Safety measures

The severity of injuries can be limited by safety measures in vehicles, such as airbags. Elderly drivers can also benefit from further training and driver assistance systems that alert the driver when he or she is too close to another vehicle, helping them to judge distances correctly as well as park and travel safely on a road with several lanes.

In this context, the ADVISORS project analysed the potential impact of advanced driver assistance systems on driving behaviour and road safety. It also devised methods for assessing the systems and identified priorities for further development.

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