A new survey lists the top 10 most and least dangerous states in the United States for senior drivers, and the findings show a few surprises.
The survey, which was conducted by senior care resources company Caring.com, found that Rhode Island is the most dangerous state in the country for senior drivers. The result was quite surprising given that Rhode Island is the smallest U.S. state with a total area of 1,545 square miles.
On the other hand, New Mexico is the state with the least threat for senior drivers. This expansive state has a total land area of 121,589 square miles. It is the fifth largest state in the country.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, senior adults aged 65 and above will make up about 25 percent of all the American drivers by the year 2025. Given these estimates, the survey findings suggest this driving safety among senior drivers is a big issue.
In particular, senior drivers in Rhode Island accounted for approximately 35 percent of all the roadway deaths in 2014. But these senior adults only made up about 16 percent of the tiny state's population. This made them almost 19 percent more likely to die in a car accident than anticipated.
By analyzing each of the state's senior driving rules, the investigation found a link between rules and fatal car accidents. According to Caring.com's Chief Caring Expert Dayna Steele, the states with more stringent driving regulations have lesser car fatalities among the senior group.
Likewise, the states with the less strict rules or even none at all appeared to have more roadway deaths among the said population group. These rules include vision tests, more regular renewal requirements for driving license and in-person training to name a few.
For instance, among the most dangerous states for senior drivers, six of them do not have driving rules for this particular group. These states included New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey and Delaware. Among the 10 safest U.S. states for senior drivers, only two — Wyoming and Mississippi — do not have such regulations.
"Nationwide, suburban areas have struggled with aging populations — they're trying to adapt an old infrastructure to the new normal of a graying population," said Richard Murdocco, M.A., who writes about urban planning and land use.
For the survey, the researchers analyzed the number of above 65s in each state who were killed in roadway accidents. They then compared the statistics to the group's part of the state's population. The researchers used the 2014 car accident numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau population data and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures.