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Older Drivers Often Involved in Daytime Crashes
Fonts and sizes of road signs could
be further improved to ensure older
driver's safety; © SXC
To help improve traffic safety, engineers identified the characteristics of older drivers in Kansas and the types of crashes they are involved in.
Their research found most car accidents involving older drivers occur during the daytime and are more severe, often ending in injury or fatality, than those for younger populations.
"Highway safety of older drivers is an issue," said Sunanda Dissanayake, Kansas State University associate professor of civil engineering. "If you live in an area like Kansas, there's not much public transportation, so drivers have to rely on a personal vehicle. The older population should be able to drive. It's a significant predictor of their quality of life."
For the study, older drivers were defined as people 65 years and older. The researchers analysed Kansas crash data from 1997 to 2006, which included crashes based on involvement and severity. The data were analyzed and compared among drivers aged 15 to 25, drivers aged 25 to 65, and older drivers.
"If you look at the number of total crashes in Kansas involving older drivers, it's not that much. That's because they don't drive as much as the rest of the population," Dissanayake said. "But if you look at crash involvement per mile driven, that's very high for older drivers."
The crash analysis showed that the severity of crashes for older drivers also is very high compared to the rest of the population. When looking at the categories of crash severity, older drivers have the highest incidents in fatal crashes, as well as incapacitating and non-incapacitating crashes. Older drivers also had a higher percentage of crashes occurring at intersections and accidents happening during daylight.
"That doesn't necessarily mean it's more dangerous during daytime," Dissanayake said. "It could be because older drivers do most of their driving during the daylight hours."
Most of the older-driver crashes involved colliding with another vehicle while in traffic. Few involved running off the road and hitting something, which is more common for young drivers, Dissanayake said. Right before their crashes, most of the older drivers were driving straight ahead, but a significant amount was making a left turn. Dissanayake said making a left turn is especially difficult when there is no green arrow, leaving the maneuver to the driver's judgment.
REHACARE.de; Source: Kansas State University
- More about the Kansas State University at www.ksu.edu
( Source: REHACARE.de )