Teen and Older Drivers at Greater Risk of Auto Accidents

A Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) study found that the cars typically driven by teens and older adults play a key role in their risk for auto accidents, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. As teens typically drive hand-me-down cars and seniors stay with the same car for years, these vehicles tend to be older and lack important safety features which can help prevent a crash or decrease risk of injury or death in a car accident.

CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention team studied data on teens and adults age 65+ in an effort to make sense of the higher number of car accidents among these groups. The researchers reviewed crash data across New Jersey from 2010-2017 and compared it to the makes and models of the cars involved and their safety features. They found these features played a key role in preventing automobile accidents. For example, electronic stability control helped drivers to maintain control when swerving. The researchers also discovered disparities between socioeconomic status. Young low-income drivers drove cars that were “nearly twice as old as counterparts in the highest-income tracts.”

The report emphasized the need for drivers to choose the safest car options in their budgets. While newer vehicles tend to offer more safety features, there are a number of less expensive options that also are safe, according to the article. Drivers should consider larger vehicles and stay away from those with high horsepower. Public transportation is also a safe, less expensive option.

“If we can get these drivers, who again have higher risks of crashing and being injured in crashes, into safer vehicles, that may improve their crash outcomes,” noted Kristina Metzger, the lead author of the study.

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