Older Americans today are healthier and more active than ever before. With the aging of the baby boomer generation, people over 65 are the fastest-growing population in the U.S. By 2030, there will be more than 70 million people age 65 and older, with between 85–90 percent of them licensed to drive.
Senior drivers are among the safest drivers since they often reduce their risk of injury by wearing safety belts, not drinking and driving, self-restricting their driving due to safety concerns and by observing speed limits. However, seniors are also more likely to be injured or killed in a crash due to age-related fragility.
State licensing agencies can help extend safe mobility for the older and medically at-risk drivers by using their licensing policies and practices to identify and assess at-risk-drivers while using restrictions and remediation to help senior drivers compensate for functional impairments.
Just because someone is 75, 85, or even 95 years old does not mean that their ability to drive safely has been compromised. Policies and practices designed to improve senior safety and mobility must take this reality into account and decisions about driving should be made on a case-by- case basis, not chronological age.
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