Factors Affecting Fatal Crash Involvement of Older Drivers

It is a well known fact that the percentage of elderly among the United States (US) population is increasing. The majority of elderly are dependent on automobiles for their transportation needs either because of lack of public transportation or by choice. However, as a result of the natural aging process, they experience decreased mental and physical capabilities compared to younger drivers. This situation combined with imperfect highway infrastructure is making older drivers one of the most critical special population groups in terms of highway safety. Mobility and transportation needs of elderly in rural areas could be even more challenging due to the nature of the problems in those areas. On per mile driven basis older drivers experience the highest crash involvement of any driver age group. In addition, elderly are more likely to be killed or severely injured when involved in motor vehicle crashes. Understanding the causes and situations under which older drivers are more likely to get involved in crashes and to be fatally or more severely injured will help towards improving the overall highway safety situation of older drivers. With that kind of knowledge, potentially more specific countermeasures could be suggested for improving highway safety of the aging population in Kansas. Even though some national level studies are available on older drivers, preliminary investigation has indicated that older drivers in Kansas experience different sets of challenges than the average US older driver, mainly because of the disproportionate amount of rural highway mileage. Currently Kansas State University is working on a research project funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to look into the general highway safety issues of older drivers. That study utilizes the electronic crash database maintained by KDOT to gather data related to older driver related crashes in Kansas. Even though this is a reasonable approach to study the broader aspects of the problem, some very detailed information are lost when they are transformed into the electronic format. Examples of such details include the description on how the crash might have happened and the sketch provided in the actual police accident report. In order to get a deeper understanding of the contributing causes of crashes involving older drivers, it is necessary to pay closer attention to each and every crash which resulted in high levels of injury severity.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $75000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    RE-040-05; HPD-R043


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Kansas State University Transportation Center

    Kansas State University
    Department of Civil Engineering
    Manhattan, KS  United States  66506
  • Project Managers:

    Stokes, Robert

  • Performing Organizations:

    Kansas State University Transportation Center

    Kansas State University
    Department of Civil Engineering
    Manhattan, KS  United States  66506
  • Principal Investigators:

    Dissanayake, Sunanda

  • Start Date: 20070228
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20110630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 20986

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462212
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Kansas State University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: RE-040-05; HPD-R043, KSUTC-08-3
  • Files: RIP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:00PM