Congressional Briefing - October 25, 2007

Regulating Senior Drivers: Are New Policies Needed?

Traffic on the highway


Seth Seabury


Thursday, October 25, 2007


10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.


304 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

How to Attend:

Contact Kristy Anderson at or 703-413-1100 ext. 5196.

About the Program

What risks do older drivers pose to traffic safety? By 2025, one out of four drivers will be seniors. Recent, well-publicized events where senior drivers have caused major accidents and deaths have led to calls for more stringent policies in regard to older drivers. But how common are these events and how should policymakers address these issues?

RAND sought to answer these questions and to find out how much risk older drivers pose to America’s roadways. Findings from the study include:

  • Compared to the average driver, seniors are slightly more likely to cause an accident, but younger drivers (teens and early 20s) are far more risky than either adults or seniors;
  • Because of declining health, seniors are nearly six times more likely to be killed in an accident;
  • In the face of their own increased risk of being killed in an accident, seniors drive considerably less and drive in safer conditions, lowering the risk they pose to non-seniors; and
  • Policies addressing senior drivers should aim to protect rather than regulate seniors, including policies that improve traffic safety for everyone, including technological safety innovations, increasing the availability of public transportation, and policies that help make younger drivers safer.

Dr. Seth Seabury will discuss these findings and other issues surrounding older drivers and their potential risks. The report and related documents can be downloaded for free at: Hard copies of the materials will be provided at the briefing.

About the Speaker

Seth Seabury, Ph.D., is an economist at RAND. Much of his research focuses on how law and legal institutions impact health care and labor markets, with a particular emphasis on medical malpractice, workers' compensation, and the health and employment outcomes of the disabled.

Estimating the Accident Risk of Older Drivers

Estimating the Accident Risk of Older Drivers

By: David S. Loughran, Seth A. Seabury

As the U.S. population ages, so will the population of licensed drivers. Policymakers are concerned that this will lead to increases in traffic accidents and, consequently, injury to property and person. Although the capacity to safely operate a motor vehicle decreases at older ages, at least some older individuals voluntarily limit their driving when they perceive that their ability to drive has diminished. Do the elderly self-regulate enough that their overall negative impact on traffic safety is no more than that of other drivers? The research reported in this volume estimates how the probability of causing an automobile accident varies with age. Findings include that older drivers are somewhat more likely than middle-aged ones to cause an accident, but the bigger issue may be that they are much more likely to be injured or killed if they are in an accident, regardless of fault.

Order the Book

Related Reports

Research Brief: What Risks Do Older Drivers Pose to Traffic Safety?
Paper: Regulating Older Drivers Are New Policies Needed?

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

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Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.