Making Cars Safer For Senior Drivers

CARS SAFER FOR SENIOR DRIVERSA study conducted jointly by Hartford Financial Services Group and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed auto safety aids developed by manufacturers in an effort to make senior drivers safer on the roads. The technologies, which include things like forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and driver alert systems, have led to a substantial drop in the number of traffic accident fatalities involving seniors. Just a couple of decades ago fatalities hit the 50,000 mark, and that number now hovers at 32,000 deaths annually.

The researchers were most interested in types of auto safety technologies that had aided in keeping senior drivers safe.

For the purpose of this study, scientists defined senior motorists as those who had reached their 50th birthday. Using the criteria of the safety benefits of the technology, the challenges of using the technology, and any potential for distraction while using the technology, the researchers took 10 technologies that they felt were of the greatest benefit to senior drivers.

Researchers concluded that the technologies that would most benefit mature drivers were:

  • an emergency response system that would allow senior drivers to call for emergency help during an accident or medical emergency;
  • the blind spot warning system that warns drivers of people or vehicles in their blind spots;
  • a reverse monitoring system that warns drivers of objects behind their vehicle;
  • lane departure warning systems;
  • stability control systems that prevent rollovers
  • parking assist system that either aid seniors in parking or offer self-parking services;
  • voice-activated technology that allows communication without using the hands;
  • crash prevention systems that can detect potential collision hazards, and
  • drowsy driver alerts

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