During the past 35 years, the number of Canadian drivers over the age of 70 has exceeded the growth rate of the population by a factor of three.
Those over 65 represent the fastest growing demographic in the country. Baby Boomers are deep into retirement age. By 2025 almost one quarter of the population of the country will be over 65. These drivers will be in better health, live longer, and be more confident. They will also have more experience than was the case a decade ago.
Seniors over-represented in accident reports
They will be accustomed to driving long distances, and spending lengthy periods at the wheel. As a rule, older drivers are more cautious, and rarely show up on the aggressive driving radar. But they tend to make more mistakes in heavy traffic, and are thus over-represented in accident incident reports.
A variety of factors contribute to decreased ability as we age, vision chief among them. There are also issues with visual memory, and perception, an increased susceptibility to glare ,and reduced contrast sensitivity. Mature drivers are also plagued with reduced flexibility, fatigue, arthritis, and other health problems. They are frequently on several medications which might affect their abilities.
We know the issues. What we don’t know, are the answers.
This huge group of drivers is not about to stop driving. There is a need for everyone from drivers and legislators, to traffic engineers and vehicle manufacturers to address the issue.