Study shows difference between young, older drivers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Study shows difference between young, older drivers

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July 25, 2007

Albany--  Who's the safer driver?  Seniors or teens? Researchers looked at the number of crashes involving both groups to answer that question. The results were pretty overwhelming.

It's a question that just might cause accelerated debate. Who's the worst driver?

"The elderly people," said driver Byron Hood.

Some drivers like Byron Hood quickly say it's older folks. "Well you have some that basically, they're not supposed to be driving," said Hood.

But others disagree. "I would say young drivers between the ages of 16 and 18," said driver Veronica Farley.

Veronica Farley thinks teens aren't always the most attentive. "They're not as experienced as older drivers so I think that's what makes them the worst," said Farley.

She could be right. A study released this month by RAND shows that senior drivers just might be safer drivers. Here's a look at some of the research.  In 2001, people 65 and older made up 15 percent of licensed drivers in the United States.  But they contributed to only 7 percent of accidents.

Younger drivers aged 15 to 24 made up just 13 percent of licensed drivers but caused more than 40 percent of all accidents.

"That's surprising," said Hood.

That's surprising for some but still not enough to change opinions. "Some that's 60 and 70 years old that know they're supposed to be at home but they still get out here on the highway and try to take a chance and in doing so cause an accident," said Hood.

"My grandfather drove up until he was I think 94 and they have more experience and most of them are very careful and cautious. Most of them," said Farley.

And while some debate on the issue, drivers like Lori Brown say age is nothing but a number. "I truly think it depends on the individual," said Brown.

It could all come down to skill and how much or how little is used on the roads.

Drivers 65 and older could represent 25-percent of the driving population by 2025, a jump of more than 10-percent.

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