High fatality rate for older drivers in West Virginia


Every single day, more than 10,000 Americans turn 65, a trend that will continue for the next 20 years.

But as the number of older Americans continues too grow, so does the risk of older drivers involved or killed in a crash.

With older Americans leading more mobile and active lifestyles than previous generations it’s critical they’re given the freedom they need safely. 

AAA Safety Adviser, J.J. Miller said, “It’s challenging for a senior. They’re always worried about when will I have to stop driving? Why would they take my drivers license?”

And part of that fear stems from danger on the road especially in West Virginia.

A new report released by TRIP ranked the Mountain State among the top 20 states for the highest number of fatal accidents involving drivers 65 or older.

Brooke County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Larry Palmer said, “I’m not surprised. The older you get, your ability to see or physically perform diminishes. Even though most people might be from the area and know where they’re driving, they’re cautious. Sometimes being over cautious and driving at a slow rate can cause an accident.”

In 2016, 22% of fatal crashes in West Virginia involved a driver 65 or older.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports this higher death rate is largely because of frailty. 

Older people are less likely to survive an injury than someone younger.

But while you can never fully avoid a crash there are always steps you can take to stay safer on the road.

Miller said, “Vision is the most important thing you have going for you. We encourage drivers 65 and older, or everyone really, to absolutely have their eyes checked.”

Miller also recommends always wearing your seat belt, checking in with your doctor and signing up for a driving course.

It’s always a good idea to refresh your skills.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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