A lot of emphasis is placed on instilling safe driving habits in the teens of Alabama. This is not without good intentions because motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for teens in the state. However, in looking at the data from a different angle, a problem on the opposite end of the age spectrum becomes apparent.
Elderly drivers are actually the largest population of fatal victims in Alabama and elsewhere across the nation to be claimed in serious car accidents. Much this is due to an aging body that is no longer as aptly able to rebound from trauma. Pairing that in conjunction with limited ranges of mobility and vision is often a deadly combination.
This is an issue that deserves more attention as the "silver tsunami" continues to flood roadways in Alabama and across the nation. The "silver tsunami" is the dubbed phenomenon of the huge influx of drivers over the age of 65 years old. By 2025, the AARP estimates that about 1 in 5 drivers will fall into this age group.
In an effort to provide for better safety for this population of drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into conducting a silver rating for updating the New Car Assessment Program. Such a change could mean alerting elderly drivers to safety features in new vehicles that would better accommodate their abilities, needs and safety risks.
Safety awareness for mature drivers, young drivers and every driver in between can work to better protect all lives on the road, and is an effort that should always be encouraged.
Source: Washington Post, "NHTSA Proposes Older Driver, Family Vehicle Safety Ratings," Suzanne Kane, April 9, 2013