Older people are frail and are more likely to get seriously injured or killed in a road crash. This is the reminder issued by the Insurance Institute for Public Safety, a non-profit organization funded by auto insurance providers, upon noting that most vehicles manufactured these days are designed for younger motorists. As noted by the organization, senior citizen population is set to double in the next decades so they encourage carmakers to build vehicles which would be safer for the age group.
Steering balance, antilock brakes, visibility from the driver’s seat and many other safety features are needed by older motorists for road safety. Unfortunately, carmakers have not been providing them with additional designs suited for their age and capability. According to driving specialists, many senior Americans are having tough times dealing with high technology devices featured in new auto models. They say manufacturers have been focusing too much on attracting younger drivers that older motorists get neglected in the process.
Specialists reported that older drivers are getting more difficult to ignore because of their increasing population. Americans aged 65 and above are expected to number by 70 million by 2030, doubling their present population. This is because of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, will reach their autumn years two more decades from now. Federal Highway Administration adds that today’s senior motorists are healthier and drive more miles than previous generations.
But carmakers say they cannot make tweaks that easily. They explained that automobiles specifically designed for old people are not likely to sell well. Manufacturers admit their greater emphasis on marketing needs, saying they cannot make vehicles designed to aid older motorists because its reputation will drive off younger drivers, which are their top clients.
Carmakers add that their new safety features are enough to protect drivers and passengers from any age: antiskid systems, more crash-worthy frames, and airbags which deploy with less force so they do not injure lighter passengers.
However, auto insurance providers say they will not charge older citizens with higher premium rates because of the lack of vehicles suited for their capabilities. This is due to the decreased number of senior motorists engaged motor vehicle deaths. In 2007, 4,598 people aged 70 years and older died in road crashes, a 22 percent decline from 1997.
Still, advocates encourage manufacturers to place more emphasis on securing the safety of older people especially those who are aged 85 and above since they are more likely to die in car crashes than teenagers who account for most road deaths in America.