Increased longevity is perhaps the greatest legacy of the 20th century, but it also provides us with many challenges in the 21st century. In 1900, the average life expectancy for an American man was 46, for a woman, 48. If you were lucky enough to reach age 65 in 1900, you could be expected to live another 7 or 8 years. Now, for Americans who reach age 65, the average life expectancy is 86.6 for women, and 84.3 for men. As people live longer, fuller lives one of the greatest challenges is knowing when to stop driving, and how to stay safe behind the wheel in later years.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers over 75 are at greater risk for injury and death in low-severity crashes than any other group. Drivers over 80 are the only group that is more likely to contribute to intersection accidents than teenagers. To address concerns in this area, starting January 1, 2015, Virginia law will require drivers 75 and older to renew their licenses in person every five years, including passing a vision test.
To help reduce the risk of accident and injury, we recommend taking an active approach to safety in retirement years. There are many excellent resources available to seniors and their families through AAA, AARP, the Virginia DMV, and many insurance companies. They all recommend safe driving courses and other steps to reduce the chance of accidents and improve driving skills, making it possible for many seniors to extend safe driving late into their active retirement years.