Home Menu Search

Older road users particularly at risk

23 March 2016

Older road users (those aged 75 and above) have the second highest road fatality rate of all age groups. They generally present a greater risk to themselves than to others, due to their frailty and vulnerability to injury or death in the event of a crash.

As a result of demographic change, more and more elderly people are using Europe’s roads, and the extent of their mobility may contribute to increased road deaths among older road users. In light of this trend, a European Commission study has assessed the related risks and identified countermeasures to improve the safety of elderly people on the road.

Older people’s high fatality rate in crashes is largely determined by deteriorating motor functions related to muscle strength, coordination and rapid body movement. Decline in visual and cognitive functions is less of an issue, apart from in severe cases.

Drivers in poor physical health are more likely to suffer severe injury in the event of a crash. Distance travelled also plays a part, with crash rates higher among people who drive less frequently or shorter distances.

At the same time, older road users’ driving behaviour and experience can weigh in their favour. They are often more aware of their limitations and compensate by driving more safely, for example when roads are less busy or in daylight or dry conditions.

A study to make proposals to address risks to elderly road users has been made by the European Commission-funded ElderSafe and it aims to assess the main trends and road safety risks for older road user groups and gives an overview and analysis of measures to increase their safety.

Related news, events and information

The high toll of traffic injuries : unacceptable and preventable

14 February 2018 – According to a recent report by the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, low- and middle-income countries...

New national strategy calls for vulnerable road users to be put first

17 October 2018 – Story from RoSPA The needs of vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people...

Public health groups call for EU target and action

2 November 2016 – Story from the European Transport Safety Council. The European Union should urgently come forward with a new...

Call for urgent action on vehicle safety standards

24 May 2017 – Story from Fleet News. A coalition of industry, NGOs, consumer groups and cities are calling on the European...

Call for EU infrastructure safety rules to be extended beyond main motorways

28 September 2018 – Story from the European Transport Safety Council. A coalition of safety groups, traffic police, cyclists,...

Young Rider Focus 2019 – delegate registration now open.

10 July 2018 – The delegate registration is now open for the inaugural Young Rider Focus conference - and there's a very...

New research shows a target should be set to reduce the number injured in road collisions

30 November 2016 – New research has recommended that the EU should set a target to reduce the number of people seriously injured...

Save Lives Technical Package

14 May 2017 – Each year, 1.25 million people die as a result of road traffic crashes and as many as 50 million people are...

"European Day Without a Road Death": success for road safety awareness across Europe

9 November 2016 – Wednesday, 21 September 2016 was designated the first ‘European Day Without a Road Death, or EDWARD for...