This study explored the causes of the rise in accident involvement as the age of the driver increases. The premise behind the study was that tremendous variability in driving skills exists among older drivers, and that research into driving abilities and characteristics was needed to determine which drivers are at greatest risk for accidents. Thus, a key focus of the study was to identify which driver skills, abilities, and characteristics are associated with accidents among older drivers. In the two-year study, 1,475 drivers insured under the AARP Automobile Insurance Program were recruited to participate in a two-hour testing session. The testing session consisted of visual, perceptual, and cognitive performance tests, and a computerized self-report questionnaire which included a number of questions about driving background, driving practices, vision and health, and several psychological scales previously shown to be related to accidents. Through insurance records, extensive driver background data were also available. These included insurance claim histories and motor vehicle record data available through state motor vehicle departments. Results of the study showed that "contrast sensitivity", a component of vision, and cognitive measures related to "attentional abilities" are related to accident involvement. "Driving exposures", such as higher mileage, night driving, and driving environment (population density) were confirmed as predictive of future risk. "Driving records", including prior at-fault accidents, prior non-fault accidents, and prior moving violation histories were predictive of future accident involvement. A number of driver characteristics were also identified as accident predictors. Most notable were "social support" characteristics, such as marital status, living with others in household, involvement in organizations, and time spent on hobbies/leisure activities. Other findings identified attitudinal and behavioral characteristics, yielding insight into accident causes and focus for educational opportunities. Results of the study both confirm established accident predictors and give new direction for future research and accident analysis. Through continued focus on the new variables and, in particular, on combinations of variables, greater understanding of the causes of accidents among older drivers will be realized. Education of the older driver also holds promise for accident prevention.

  • Corporate Authors:

    ITT Hartford Insurance Group

    200 Executive Boulevard
    Southington, CT  United States  06489

    American Association of Retired Persons

    601 E Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20049
  • Authors:
    • Brown, J
    • Greaney, K
    • Mitchel, J
    • Lee, W S
  • Publication Date: 1993-11


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 31 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00664288
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 11 1994 12:00AM