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Elderly Car Crash Deaths Down in Last Decade
Date:1/23/2009

be safer," Hecox added. "Tight dead man's curves are pretty much gone, and there are less pot-holes, fewer bumps. And even more basic is the results of our efforts over the last 10 to 15 years -- with a specific eye to older drivers -- to do everything we can to make signs brighter, more visible, and more legible at greater distances."

"That kind of focus," he observed, "may not address as directly the sort of high risk younger drivers face, as accidents involving novice drivers tend to result from going too fast and disregarding road conditions, that kind of thing. But ultimately, what we do for older drivers does help to safeguard the road for everybody."

Another study on elderly drivers, published in the first 2009 issue of The Cochrane Library, questioned the commonly held assumption that as people age, diminishing eyesight renders them more accident-prone, or that standard visual acuity tests help reduce elderly accident risk.

Led by Sayed Subzwari, a researcher from the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit, Centre for Community Health Research, in Vancouver, Canada, the study screened more than 4,500 published and unpublished research efforts on the subject, but found that none were reliable enough to establish a firm eyesight-accident link.

The authors further observed that eyesight testing charts typically used at most motor vehicle departments are not that sensitive and do not adequately screen for all eye conditions, such as glare sensitivity or cataracts. They called for more rigorous research, to assess the true effectiveness of elderly driver vision screening.

More information

For more on elderly drivers and safety, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Anne T. McCartt, Ph.D., senior vice president, research, Insu
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