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Key findings from the latest IAM motoring fact publications

13 January 2011

The massive reduction in fatalities within the UK’s two most vulnerable age groups is the key finding of ‘Younger and Older Road Users’, the latest in a series of motoring facts publications from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Since 2008, fatalities have fallen 33% in the 16-19 year old bracket, 25% for drivers in their 70s, and 22% for drivers aged 80 and over.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM, which is a Driving for Better Business campaign supporter, said, “While these reductions are really positive, we must continue to support these drivers, who are among the most vulnerable on our roads. The fatality rate continues to be highest for 16-19-year olds, followed by the over 80s, but for very different reasons.

“The greatest risk to the oldest age group on the road is as a pedestrian. In comparison, younger people are much more at risk as a driver or as a passenger in a car driven by a young driver.

“Pedestrian risk increases from 2% of those injured aged between 20 and 50, to around 9% aged 80 and over. The greatest risk to pedestrians is car drivers under 30 who are involved in more than a third of pedestrian fatalities.”

Despite widespread beliefs to the contrary, older drivers are no more likely to be involved in an injury crash than middle aged drivers, and are much less at risk than drivers aged under 30.

However, the risk of being killed as a car occupant increases from about 0.6% of those injured aged between 30 and 50, to over 3% aged 80 and over. This is generally a result of age-related frailty; older people are more likely to be injured in a crash and are less likely to recover.

Between 20 and 50 years of age, the rate of deaths declines for all road users except for motorcyclists, which remains almost constant over this period.

“Young male drivers continue to be the most high-risk group, and are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash as young female drivers. A renewed focus on young drivers, which provides them with opportunities to gain further experience in a controlled and safe environment is of utmost importance”, said Mr Greig.

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