no71 2007
Senior Drivers' Accident Injuries

  Along with the increase in elderly population, the number of senior drivers involved in traffic accidents is also on the rise, as examined in the article "Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers" in the No. 68 issue of ITARDA INFORMATION. Seniors tend to have weaker bones and muscles, and thus sustain more serious injuries than younger people in a traffic accident. This issue of ITARDA INFORMATION analyzes elderly drivers' traffic accidents, including the type of injuries and also the correlation between safety measures such as seatbelts and elderly drivers' injuries.

1.Transition in Senior Drivers' Accident Deaths and Injuries

2.Characteristics of Senior Drivers' Injuries

3.Effect of Collision Safety Measures on Seniors

4.Case Studies


  1) Results of Analysis

  - Characteristics of injuries suffered by senior drivers
  The death/serious injury rate of drivers in traffic accidents increases along with age. This is presumably due to weakened bones and muscles that tend to result in rib fractures and visceral ruptures when the body hits hard against a car part, primarily the steering wheel. If the seat belt is not used, the risk of sustaining serious injury or of being killed becomes significantly higher for elderly drivers compared with younger drivers, as the body hits hard against the steering wheel upon collision.

  - Effect of collision safety measures on seniors
  Vehicles with a newer date of first registration or inspection (2003-2005) displayed a lower death/serious injury rate for elderly drivers compared to vehicles with an older date of registration (1995-1997).
Recent efforts in collision safety measures seem to be showing a positive effect.

  2) Minimizing Injury to Senior Drivers

  The most effective measure against injury in auto accidents is to wear the seat belt. Seat belts effectively lower the degree of injury not only for drivers but for passengers as well, whether sitting next to the driver or in the back seat. After getting into a car, always put on your seat belt.

  Do not lean forward toward the steering wheel; doing so increases the risk of your chest or abdomen hitting hard against it in the event of collision. Maintain the correct driving posture: sit with your back and shoulders pressed against the back of the seat, and adjust the seat so that your elbows and knees are relaxed.

Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)