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Are older drivers posing an increasing risk to the public? If they are, what options should policymakers consider to mitigate that risk? This research offers a new perspective on these questions. Using an innovative approach to estimate the extent to which older drivers are on the road and their riskiness compared with drivers of other age groups, the study finds that older drivers (those 65 and older) are slightly (16 percent) likelier than drivers aged 25 to 64 to cause an accident and that they pose much less risk to the public than do drivers aged 18 to 24, who are nearly three times likelier than older drivers to cause an accident. However, because of their greater frailty, older drivers are much likelier than other drivers to be seriously injured or killed when involved in an accident. In light of these findings, the authors find little support for the idea that stricter licensing policies targeting older drivers would substantially improve traffic safety.

The research described in this report was conducted by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

This report is part of the RAND occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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