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2019 Washington State Senior Citizen Driver Accident Data

Updated on: 2/20/2020

Most Shocking 2019 Findings:

  • 399 drivers between the age of 90 and 100 were involved in motor vehicle accidents in Washington State.
  • 3,269 drivers between the age of 80 and 89 were involved in an automobile accidents.

Car accidents caused by elderly drivers is serious problem and a threat to public safety.  But most who are concerned about their family's older drivers don't know how to answer the question, "how old is too old to drive?"

senior citizen car accidentSenior Citizen-Involved Automobile Accidents in Washington State

Twenty-three thousand four-hundred twenty-eight (23,428) drivers above the age of 65 were involved in an automobile accident in Washington State during 2019.  When you examine the specific data points closely there are some surprising findings.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of senior citizen accidents involved individuals between the ages of 65 and 69; forty-five percent (45%) involved drivers between 70 and 79 years of age; while fourteen percent (14%) involved drivers between 80 and 89 years old; and two percent (2%) involved drivers that were more than 90 years old. 

Age Range - # of Accidents - % of Crashes Involving A Driver 65+
65 to 69 - ​9,236 - ​39%
70 to 79 - 10,524 - ​45%
80 to 89 - ​3,269 - ​14%
90 to 100 - ​399 - ​2%

Age  # - Involved In An Accident - % of Senior Accidents
100 - 4 - 0.01%
99 - 6 - 0.01%
98 - 10 - 0.02%
97 - 7 - 0.02%
96 - 12 - 0.03%
95 - 19 - 0.04%
94 - 34 - 0.08%
93 - 53 - 0.12%
92 - 65 - 0.15%
91 - 71 - 0.16%
90 - 118 - 0.27%
89 - 166 - 0.38%
88 - 160 - 0.37%
87 - 225 - 0.52%
86 - 247 - 0.57%
85 - 302 - 0.69%
84 - 345 - 0.79%
83 - 364 - 0.83%
82 - 477 - 1.09%
81 - 483 - 1.11%
80 - 500 - 1.14%
79 - 599 - 1.37%
78 - 657 - 1.50%
77 - 787 - 1.80%
76 - 1013 - 2.32%
75 - 979 - 2.24%
74 - 949 - 2.17%
73 - 1071 - 2.45%
72 - 1443 - 3.30%
71 - 1501 - 3.44%
70 - 1525 - 3.49%

County - # Senior-Involved Crashes (65+) - % of Senior Accidents
King - 5534 - 27%
Snohomish - 2529 - 12%
Pierce - 2467 - 12%
Spokane - 1407 - 7%
Thurston - 1062 - 5%
Clark - 835 - 4%
Kitsap - 701 - 3%
Yakima - 694 - 3%
Benton - 641 - 3%
Whatcom - 615 - 3%
Skagit - 604 - 3%

City - # Senior-Involved Crashes (65+) - % of Senior Accidents
Seattle - 1618 - 7.84%
Tacoma - 1045 - 5.06%
Spokane - 922 - 4.47%
Everett - 682 - 3.31%
Vancouver - 636 - 3.08%
Bellevue - 460 - 2.23%
Lynnwood - 437 - 2.12%
Kent - 420 - 2.04%
Bellingham - 411 - 1.99%
Olympia - 407 - 1.97%
Puyallup - 405 - 1.96%
Yakima - 403 - 1.95%

Why Senior Citizen May Be Less-Safe Drivers

According to a 2007 RAND Corporation study, drivers 65 and older are just 16 percent more likely than adult drivers (25-64) to cause an accident. 

Elderly drivers tend to change their driving habits to compensate for their diminished driving competence.  They tend to avoid driving conditions that put them at greater risks--staying off the road during peak traffic times and at night. And many older drivers give up driving entirely, because they understand that they are a risk to others and to themselves and others.

According to AAA, by 2030 there will be more than 70 million people age 65 and older, and approximately 85-90 percent of them will be licensed to drive.  However senior citizens can have a diminished capacity for safe driving due to several factors, including:

  • Senior citizens often suffer from arthritis, crippling inflammation of the joints, which makes driving a motor vehicle painful.
  • Weaker muscles, reduced flexibility and limited range of motion restrict senior drivers’ ability to grip and turn the steering wheel, press the accelerator or brake, or reach to open doors and windows.
  • More than 75 percent of drivers age 65 or older report using one or more medications that may impact of the medications on driving performance.
Sources:

Loughran, David S, Seth A. Seabury, and Laura Zakaras, What Risks Do Older Drivers Pose to Traffic Safety?. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2007. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9272.html.

Washington State Patrol Collision Analysis Data

 

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