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 report from the ITF: Leading a Paradigm Shift to a Safe System

5 October 2016 – The International Transport Forum's latest report calls for a paradigm shift on road safety policy to achieve a...

Road Safety Seminar “Zero Road Deaths and Serious Injuries: Leading a Paradigm Shift to a Safe System”

20 September 2016 – Every year, 1.25 million people die in road traffic. Road crashes are the seventh most frequent cause of death...

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...

IRTAD Report

24 July 2016 – The IRTAD Road Safety Annual Report 2016 is now available. It provides an overview for road safety...

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...

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...

The safest roads in the world – but not for pedestrians

21 September 2016 – Story from PACTS. PACTS has published a new report showing that Great Britain has consistently been among the...

Cutting the cost of dangerous roads: Road Safety Foundation Annual Tracking Report

21 November 2017 – In a major innovation last year, the government allocated a £175m Safer Roads Fund to tackle a portfolio of the...