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Study determines which states are safest, most dangerous for older drivers

While America's Baby Boomers are going to be exiting the workforce in droves over the course of the next decade, this doesn't mean they are going to settle quietly into retirement. Indeed, true to the spirit of their generation, many of these boomers will be traveling, volunteering and undertaking new challenges.

Given this fierce independent streak, many boomers will also be holding onto their driver's licenses. Indeed, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is projecting that as many as 25 percent of all drivers in the U.S. will be 65 and older by 2025.

Interestingly enough, both boomers -- and their children -- will likely want to take note of a rather fascinating study conducted by researchers with the informational website Caring.com ranking the 50 states from the most to the least dangerous for older drivers.

In computing these rankings, the researchers compared data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Information on fatal car accidents in 2014 with population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For example, they determined that Rhode Island's population of older citizens, which stood at roughly 16 percent in 2014, nevertheless accounted for 35 percent of car accident fatalities, such that they were nearly 19 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident.

The top five dangerous states for older drivers were:

  • Rhode Island (18.87 percent)
  • Maine (9.17 percent)
  • Minnesota (8.42 percent)
  • New York (8.23 percent)
  • Idaho (7.23 percent)

In contrast, the top five safest states for older drivers were:

  • New Mexico (-5.89 percent)
  • North Dakota (-4.57 percent)
  • Louisiana (-2.76 percent)
  • Alaska (-2.57 percent)
  • Montana (-1.62 percent)

It's worth noting that Georgia came in as the 19th safest state for older drivers.

While the researchers found that population density certainly played a role in these numbers, they also found that driving rules do as well. Indeed, they found that those states that subjected older drivers to more restrictions (in-person testing, vision exams, more frequent renewals, etc.) saw lower fatality numbers than those states with more limited restrictions on older drivers or none whatsoever.

It's important for those who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another -- regardless of age -- to understand that they do have options for seeking both justice and peace of mind.  

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