Brain on Board

Your brain is your vehicles most important safety feature.

Brain on Board

Your brain is your vehicles most important safety feature.

Senior Drivers

Visual rebranding is in progress for these resources.

It is a beautiful sunny day and you are driving home from your local grocery store. In such nice weather and with a clean, 50-year driving record, potential crash involvement is the last thing on your mind.

You approach a busy four-way stop and, when you think it is your turn, you accelerate through the intersection. The problem is that it was not your turn. A honking horn warns of the imminent crash, just as the rear end of your vehicle is struck. Luckily, due to the low speed of travel of both cars, the damage to both vehicles is minimal and no one sustains any injuries. However, as the driver of the other car exits his vehicle and demands to know why you did not yield the right of way, you have a sinking feeling that this crash is entirely your fault.

Senior drivers have an ever-growing presence on the road. Although they generally have more experience than other drivers, various aspects of aging can pose road safety risks. Research shows that vehicle safety features can prevent and mitigate crashes when paired with safe driving techniques. In order for senior drivers to accrue the maximum benefits of safety features, it is important to understand how the effects of aging influence driving ability, and the scope of protection that safety features offer.


Alvarez, J. F., Fierro, I. (2008) Older drivers, medical condition, medical impairment and crash risk. Accident Analysis and Prevention, vol. 40, no. 1.

Braitman K., Chaudhary, N., McCartt, A. (2011). Effect of Passenger on Older Drivers’ Risk of Fatal Crash Involvement. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Charlton, J., Koppel, S., O’Hare, M., Andrea, D., Smith, G., Khodr, B., Langford, J., Odell, M., Fildes, B. (2004). “Influence of chronic illness on crash involvement of motor vehicle drivers”.

Victoria, Australia: Monash University Accident Research Centre. 2004.

Dobbs, B.M. (2005). Medical conditions and driving: a review of literature (1960- 2000). Washington, D.C.: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (2007). Special issue: Older drivers. Status Report, vol. 42, no. 3.

Mayhew, D. Simpson, H. (2006) “Collisions Involving Senior Drivers: High-Risk Conditions and Locations”. Traffic Injury Prevention, vol. 7.

McGwin, G., Sims, R.V., Pulley, L.V., & Roseman, J. M. (2000). Relations among chronic medical conditions, medications, and automobile crashes in the elderly: a population-based case- control study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 152(5), 424-431.

Robertson, R., Vanlaar, W. (2008). Elderly drivers: Future challenges? Accident Analysis and Prevention, no. 40.

Statistics Canada (2012). Canadian social trends: Profile of seniors’ Transportation Habits. No. 93.

Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) (2013). Alcohol-Crash Problem in Canada: 2010. CCMTA Road Safety Report Series. Ottawa, ON.