Older drivers: their night fatal crash involvement and risk

Accid Anal Prev. 1989 Jun;21(3):273-82. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(89)90018-3.


The 1983 Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) data and the Nationwide Personal Transportation Study (NPTS) exposure data were used to describe the major problems in night driving that involved older drivers, aged 65 or more, in fatal crashes and to assess their risk. One of the major findings was that the rate of involvement in fatal crashes in darkness of older drivers was much less than for drivers under the age of 25, but greater overall than for drivers aged 25-64. The rate for older females was much less than for older males. Although the overall fatal crash involvement of older drivers is not a serious cause for alarm at this time, the performance of older males does indicate a substantial increase in risk of fatal crash involvement in darkness. These trends can be expected to become more noticeable over the years as a greater proportion of the population in the United States exceeds the age of 65. The older driver crash involvement at night seems to be particularly troublesome for males in multivehicle crashes where they are struck in the side or rear by another vehicle, and single-vehicle crashes where they run off the road on a straight section. Some suggested improvements of the overall night driving environment are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged*
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Dark Adaptation
  • Darkness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Visual Acuity