NHTSA's focus on older drivers

Today, Fleet Owner's Sean Kilcarr writes about NHTSA's renewed focus on aging truck drivers and the challenges age brings to motor vehicle operation skills.

Since 2003, NHTSA noted, the population of older adults, defined as age 65 and older, has increased by 20% and the number of licensed older drivers increased by 21%, to 35 million licensed older drivers in 2012. He says NHTSA is studying how vehicle-to-vehicle communications, collision avoidance and crashworthiness systems, and other technologies can help reduce the risk of death or injury to older occupants in the event of a crash.

While these stats cover all drivers, age does not appear to be much of a factor in which tractor-trailer drivers are involved in fatal accidents. In 2009, drivers older than age 65 accounted for only 5.8% of fatalities, according to NHTSA. Only 4% of fatal crashes involved drivers younger than age 25.

The same cannot be said for passenger vehicles, where those younger than age 35, and especially younger than age 25, are involved in more fatal accidents than any other age group.