Traffic Fatalities Higher for Working Drivers Ages 65 and Older

In its August 23, 2013 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information regarding traffic accident risks specific to age and occupation. Elderly individuals who drive for a living are about three times more likely to be injured fatally in a crash compared to workers between the ages of 18 and 54.

The findings suggest that it’s not only those who drive in the transportation industry, such as a delivery bus or tractor-trailer drivers, who are injured in accidents at work. It includes a vast array of occupations and industries in which driving is part of workers’ duties.

Although working drivers 65 and older pose the greatest risk, individuals may see an increased risk upon turning 55 years old. As the person ages, the risk increases.

Between 2003 and 2010, 11,587 employees older than 18 were killed behind the wheel in the United States. Half of those deaths occurred in the transportation industry, including transporting materials.

The following are additional findings: 

  • workers 55 and older accounted for 26.9 percent of all deaths;
  • workers 65 and older accounted for 48 percent of fatalities caused by a collision with another vehicle;
  • 23 percent of workers 65 and older were driving a passenger car;
  • 22 percent of workers 65 and older were driving a tractor-trailer; and
  • 15 percent of workers 65 and older were driving a pickup.

Potential Factors for Increased Risk of Traffic Fatalities in Older Working Drivers

The following are some factors that may contribute to the risk of fatal injuries in a traffic crash among older drivers:

  • driving at night;
  • not taking enough breaks;
  • drowsiness;
  • medication side effects; and
  • inadequate training.

There also may be a need for ongoing education/training or opportunities to brush up on skills regarding specific hazards while driving. If you were injured in a work-related accident on the road, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates at (800) 246-4878 to set up a consultation.

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