The federal government is gearing up research on a subject of special interest in our area – seniors’ driving safety.
Statistics show the over-65 population grew by 20 percent across the country in the past decade, with a proportionate increase in over-65 drivers.
Fourteen percent of Americans are older than 65, but they make up a disproportionately high percent of traffic fatalities, nearly 17 percent.
The fatality rate for senior drivers increased 3 percent in 2012, with a total of 5,560 deaths nationwide. That year also saw a 16 percent jump in injuries for the over-65 group, for a total of 214,000 hurt individuals.
A big part of the issue, federal authorities say, is the frailty that comes with age, making elders more likely to be hurt or killed in a wreck.
Parts of the Transportation Department study will look at standards for street lights, cars that may better protect seniors and eyesight reviews that work in several states to keep impaired drivers safely off our roads.
This is a study that our area will be eagerly awaiting.