Elderly motor vehicle drivers in traffic accidents

Road traffic injuries are an increasing public health problem with large costs for society. Currently, there is insufficient compiled data with regard to traffic accidents related to older drivers, and there is a lack of research in the area. The aim of the study was to investigate accidents (defined as killed, seriously injured and slightly injured) with older motor-vehicle drivers involved with regard to different accident circumstances.

A selection of road traffic accidents reported by the police and emergency care hospitals to the Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition (Strada) were analyzed. The sample included everyone who was a driver in an accident with a motor vehicle during the period 2010–2019 and who was 65 years or older at the time of the accident. The injury coding in Strada were fatal or seriously injured (ISS 9–), moderately injured (ISS 4–8), slightly injured (ISS 1–3), uninjured or unknown injury.

Mainly car drivers were analyzed. In the analyses, the elderly group was divided into a younger group of 12,672 car drivers aged 65–74 and an older group with 8,478 drivers aged 75 and over. Comparisons were made with 55,855 younger car drivers involved in accidents, aged 40–55.

The main findings from the study were as follows:

  • There was no increased number of accidents among older car drivers during the ten-year period.
  • Gender differences increase with age. Women who were 75 years and older made up a smaller proportion of those involved in accidents, compared to women in the younger group and the comparison group.
  • The types of accidents differ, with the oldest drivers in the elderly group being more often involved in turning/crossing accidents and accidents with vulnerable road users.
  • It is somewhat more common for the elderly to be involved in accidents on roads with lower speed limits.
  • It is less common for the elderly to have accidents during the dark period of the day.

The project previously published VTI PM 2021:14 with a literature review of older car drivers. The project continues with further studies of elderly accidents and personal injuries.

Susanne Wallhagen, Helena Selander, Jesper Sandin
Research area
Publication type
Project report
Published in
VTI PM 2022:13
Year of publication