Study Confirms High Driving Fatality Rate for Oldest Drivers

Highway fatality rates in 2003-2010 for workers 65 and older were three times the rates of workers ages 18-54, according to the MMWR report.

A study published this week in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says the highway transportation fatality rate for workers age 65 and older was three times higher than the rate for workers ages 18-54, when fatality reports were analyzed from 2003 to 2010. The data came from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for that period.

It says workers 65 and older had the highest overall fatality rate, 3.1 highway transportation deaths per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers per year, versus a rate of 0.9 per 100,000 FTE workers for workers ages 18-54. This was true across demographic and occupational categories. "These results demonstrate the need to further implement interventions that consider road safety risks specific to older workers," the authors, Stephanie G. Pratt, Ph.D., and Rosa L. Rodríguez-Acosta, Ph.D., of the NIOSH Division of Safety Research, concluded.

They reported a total of 11,587 workers 18 or older in the United States died in occupational highway transportation incidents during the period, and 3,113 of them (26.9 percent) were 55 or older. Those ages 55-64 had a fatality rate of 1.4 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers. "Over time, fatality rates remained relatively stable for workers aged 18-54 and 55-64 years. For workers aged ≥65 years, a sharp decrease in risk was observed in 2008, but by the end of the study period, their risk for a transportation death remained more than three times the risk among those aged 18-54 years," they reported.

The demographic ground with the highest risk for an occupational highway transportation death was American Indian/Alaska Native workers age 65 or older, with a fatality rate four times higher than that of the 18-54 group. The rate for Hispanic workers A similar pattern, although of lower magnitude, was observed among white and black workers. For Hispanic workers, the risk was more than twice that of the 18-54 group.

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