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The Gerontologist 41:751-756 (2001)
© 2001 The Gerontological Society of America

Traffic-Related Fatalities Among Older Drivers and Passengers

Past and Future Trends

Michel Bédard, PhDa,b, Michael J. Stones, PhDb, Gordon H. Guyatt, MDc and John P. Hirdes, PhDd

a Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
b Department of Psychology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
c Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada
d Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence: Michel Bédard, PhD, Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, 580 North Algoma Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5G4 Canada. E-mail: mbedard{at}

Decision Editor: Laurence G. Branch, PhD

Purpose of the Study: This study was initiated to forecast the number of older drivers and passengers who may be fatally injured in traffic crashes in future years. Design and Methods: The study was based on data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System covering the period from 1975 to 1998. Projections were based on least squares regression models. Results: About 35,000 drivers and passengers died in traffic crashes each year from 1975 to 1998. Older adults (65 and older) accounted for 10% of all fatalities in 1975, 17% in 1998, and a projected 27% by 2015, the same proportion predicted for drivers and passengers aged younger than 30. On the basis of these projections, the number of fatally injured women and men aged 65 and older will increase respectively by 373% and 271% between 1975 and 2015. Implications: If current trends continue, the number of fatalities among older drivers and passengers and those aged younger than 30, may be equivalent early in this century. These projections call for further research into conditions that may lead to crashes involving older drivers and for the development and implementation of initiatives to curb traffic-related fatalities among older adults.

Key Words: Fatalities • Older adults • Crashes • Trends • Projections

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2001 by The Gerontological Society of America.