Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age: United States, 1995–2010

This study examines changes over time in the numbers and rates of police-reported crashes involving passenger vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, vans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles) and the numbers and rates of injuries and deaths that occurred in those crashes. Crashes that did not involve at least one passenger vehicle were excluded. The relationship between driver age and the risks that drivers pose to themselves and to other people was also examined. The total number of people killed in crashes that involved a passenger vehicle decreased by 26 percent over the study period, from 39,014 in 1995 to 28,828 in 2010; the number of people injured in crashes that involved a passenger vehicle decreased by 36 percent, from approximately 3,382,000 in 1995 to 2,156,000 in 2010. The number of passenger-vehicle drivers involved in all police-reported crashes decreased by 21 percent over the study period. Rates of crashes, injuries, and deaths decreased over the study period for all driver age groups, and this was the case whether examined in relation to the total population, driving population, or number of miles driven. While drivers of all ages experienced decreases in rates of crashes, injuries, and deaths over the study period, decreases in population-based and driver-based rates were largest for teenage drivers; decreases in mileage-based rates of crash involvement, injury, and death were largest for drivers aged 75-84. Population-based crash involvement rates were highest for drivers ages 18-19 and decreased monotonically with increasing age thereafter. Driver-based crash rates were highest for drivers ages 16-17 and decreased until ages 60-69, at which point they essentially leveled off. Mileage-based crash rates were by far the highest for the youngest drivers, decreased with increasing age until ages 60-69, and increased slightly thereafter, such that drivers in their 70’s were involved in approximately the same number of crashes per mile driven as drivers in their 30’s, drivers ages 80-84 had mileage-based crash rates similar to drivers ages 25-59, and drivers ages 85 and older had mileage-based crash rates similar to drivers ages 20-24. Rates of driver injuries, and injuries and deaths of other people outside of the driver’s vehicle (occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, etc.) tended to follow patterns similar to those of overall crash involvement. Drivers ages 85 and older had the highest rates of (their own) death per driver and per mile driven; however, this was largely due to their diminished ability to survive a crash rather than to their increased crash rate. In relation to the amount of driving that they did, drivers aged 85 and older posed about as much risk to other people outside of their vehicle as drivers in their early 20’s did. In relation to their share of the driving population, fewer other people were killed in crashes involving drivers ages 85 and older than drivers of any other age.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 13p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01685256
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 6 2018 12:03PM