State Motor Vehicle Laws and Older Drivers

Motor vehicle fatality rates among teenaged and older drivers, passengers, and pedestrians far exceed that of the middle-aged. However, there has been only limited research on the effect of state motor vehicle laws on older driver fatalities. This article reports on a study that used data from the 1985-2000 Fatality Analysis Reporting System to examine the effects of changes in state laws dealing with license renewal, seatbelt use, speed limits, and driving while intoxicated on fatalities among drivers and others aged 65 and over. Results showed that in-person license renewal reduced fatalities among the oldest drivers, but vision tests, road tests, and the length of the license renewal cycle generally did not. In terms of policies that apply to all drivers, seatbelt laws, particularly with primary enforcement, were generally the only policies that reduced older driver fatalities. The authors conclude that these results are particularly intriguing because a number of policies that have been effective in increasing younger driver safety are not relevant for older drivers. The authors call for policymakers to think broadly about strategies to use state laws to improve older driver safety.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Morrisey, Michael A
    • Grabowski, David C
  • Publication Date: 2005-4


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01003958
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 13 2005 5:35AM