Senior Drivers Support Tougher Driving Laws for Themselves

NEW JERSEY -- While senior drivers favor tougher driving laws, from bans on wireless devices to ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders, an overwhelming majority support greater scrutiny in the license-renewal process for themselves and their peers, according to a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report on aging Americans.

More than seven in 10 drivers age 65+ favor policies that require drivers age 75 and older to renew their license in person and also support requirements that seniors pass a medical screening.  Highlights from the AAA Foundation’s report, Older American Drivers and Traffic Safety Culture, include:

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  • Nearly 80% of drivers age 75+ favor medical screenings for drivers over age 75
  • Nearly 90% of older drivers (65 and older) reported no crashes in the last two years
  • 90% of older drivers reported no moving violations
  • 65% of drivers age 75+ reported never using a cell phone while driving, compared to only 48% of the younger “older” drivers (those age 65-69) who never use a phone while behind the wheel

“Even though public perception tends to unfairly characterize seniors as a menace on the road, these findings indicate that older Americans tend to support policies to keep themselves safer behind the wheel, making them key allies in their mission to keep driving — smarter and longer,” said Peter Kissinger, President & CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation also released the Understanding Older Drivers: An Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use and Travel Behaviors report. Findings include:

  • 86% of those age 65 and older still drive
  • 84% of Americans age 65+ hold a driver’s license (compared to barely half in the early 1970s)
  • 68% of drivers age 85+ report driving five or more days a week

“With nearly nine out of ten seniors aged 65 and older still driving, it appears that additional years behind the wheel not only make drivers older, but wiser,” said Cathleen Lewis, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations for the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “It’s promising to see a trend toward a more pro-safety culture with increasing age."

December 1 -- 5, 2014 is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week