Older Road User Crashes Report No. 61
Authors: B. Fildes, B. Corben, S. Kent, J. Oxley, T. Le& P. Ryan
The aim of this study was to examine the accident involvement of elderly road users with a view to identifying incidence numbers and rates, target groups of accidents where older road users are over-represented, suitable countermeasures, and areas requiring further research. A review of the international literature was undertaken to highlight the extent of the older road user problem and directions and hypotheses for subsequent analyses. Analyses were conducted of recent casualty crashes in Victoria. Areas investigated included: driver and pedestrian accident trends over the last ten years, driver and pedestrian injuries and associated treatment and rehabilitation costs, and road and environment characteristics of driver and pedestrian casualty crashes. Results showed that the number and rates per head of population of casualty crashes amongst elderly road users have been generally decreasing since 1989 although this decline was more apparent for pedestrians than it was for drivers. Although they constitute only a relatively small proportion of crash casualties, older road users are far more likely to be severely injured in the event of a crash and more likely to sustain serious chest injuries than their younger counterparts. Older drivers represent about 5% of the total cost of trauma to drivers in the state of Victoria; older pedestrians, however, represent about 14% of the total cost of pedestrian trauma in this state. Older road users appear to be over-involved in crashes at intersections, particularly at cross intersections and those controlled by stop and give-way signs, and tend to have their crashes during daylight hours between 9a.m. and 3p.m. The results also suggested that older road users are over-involved in crash configurations with a relatively high level of complexity. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for interventions aimed at older drivers and pedestrians and for current issues such as older driver licence testing. Areas for further research identified in this study are also discussed.