Traffic-Related Fatalities Among Older Drivers and Passengers
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PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: This study was initiated to forecast the number of older drivers and passengers who may be fatally injured in traffic crashes in future years. DESIGN AND METHODS: The study was based on data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System covering the period from 1975 to 1998. Projections were based on least squares regression models. RESULTS: About 35,000 drivers and passengers died in traffic crashes each year from 1975 to 1998. Older adults (65 and older) accounted for 10% of all fatalities in 1975, 17% in 1998, and a projected 27% by 2015, the same proportion predicted for drivers and passengers aged younger than 30. On the basis of these projections, the number of fatally injured women and men aged 65 and older will increase respectively by 373% and 271% between 1975 and 2015. IMPLICATIONS: If current trends continue, the number of fatalities among older drivers and passengers and those aged younger than 30, may be equivalent early in this century. These projections call for further research into conditions that may lead to crashes involving older drivers and for the development and implementation of initiatives to curb traffic-related fatalities among older adults.
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