no68 2007
Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers -Trends and characteristics-

  Along with the increase in elderly population and, consequently, the number of elderly people in possession of a driver's license, there has been a rise in the number of elderly drivers involved in automobile accidents. Needless to say, this trend is expected to continue in the future.

  In this issue of ITARDA INFORMATION, we compare the trends in elderly drivers with other age groups and transportation modes (including walking) and explain their characteristics. We also comparatively analyze and summarize the conditions and human factors related to these drivers against other age groups.

  Drivers (and pedestrians) involved in multi-car accidents were excluded from this study as they are not considered to have actively participated in the occurrence of those accidents. The intended subjects of this study are "participants" in the accident, regardless of whether or not they sustained any injuries.

  The results for non-automobile drivers are also presented for reference when appropriate.

Section 1  Trends in participation by transportation mode

Section 2  Trends in participation by age group

Section 3  Trends in participation by age group and transportation mode

Section 4  Is the rise in participation trend for elderly drivers the result of the increase in the number of license holders?

Section 5  Do accidents occur to drivers or passengers?

Section 6  In what situations do elderly automobile drivers tend to encounter accidents?

Section 7  Features of common errors of elderly drivers

Section 8  Stronger neglect in the elderly


  1) Greater incidence of accidents and greater tendency to cause accidents by the elderly

  (1) Among the elderly, the accident incidence rate when walking is extremely high. However, when taken together with the increase in the number of license holders, a shift from walking to driving can be seen in transportation mode.

  (2) On the other hand, the 35-44 age group has the highest component ratio of automobile accidents; however, a shift from automobile driving to bicycling can now be seen.

  (3) All age groups show an increase in the number of bicycling accidents.

  (4) When examining the number of elderly drivers involved in accidents when driving an automobile with the number of license holders, the frequency rate for elderly causing accidents is low. However, this is gradually increasing. In comparison, the 24 and younger age group has twice the number of accidents compared to the other age groups.

  2) Features of accidents encountered and caused by elderly automobile drivers

  (1) In what type of traffic environment do accidents occur?

* Accidents occur most often during the day (in other words, the morning to evening period). This is attributed to people generally not going out during the 19:00-04:00 time period.
* There are many accidents at comparatively small intersections. This is presumably due to greater use of community roads.
* The component ratio of crossing collisions is high when looking at accident types. This is considered to be because of poor visibility on comparatively narrow community roads. Also, incidents of contact when passing a moped and bumping into a bicycle when making a left turn are not rare.
* When viewed by the number of license holders, accidents involving elderly drivers are marked as being few, but this is because many accidents occur during short-distance driving (for purposes such as shopping, visiting, hospital appointments).

  (2) What errors and mistakes contribute to accidents?

* While signal disregard is frequently reported, careless (or lack of) visual checking makes up the majority of errors that are linked to accidents. Following that are cases of speeding through yellow lights. Deliberate disregard of a red light is very rare among elderly drivers and has been reported in very few drivers in the 24 and younger age group.
* Also, it is common for elderly drivers to simply not have noticed another vehicle on the road just prior to the accident; however, unlike careless disregard of signals, they just assume that there is no other vehicle on the road and don't attempt to look.

  [Elderly drivers should pay attention to the following points when driving]

  (1) Be sure to check for traffic lights at larger intersections and a stop sign at smaller intersections.
  (2) Always check with your own eyes for any other vehicles. Just because you're driving on the same old road and don't expect there to be another vehicle, doesn't mean there isn't anybody else there. When making a left turn, watch out for cars coming from the right or left, but be sure to also check for motorcycles and bicycles coming from behind.

Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)