At the age of 97, Bill Keller has no need for a taxi service or public transportation -- he uses his car to get everywhere he needs to go. While he can’t turn his head like he used to, he told NBC’s "Today Show" that one of his biggest problems on the road is actually, “driv[ing] slowly. I love to drive fast.” In his 85 years of driving, Keller told NBC, he's only been involved in a fender-bender or two.
With a projected 15 million drivers older than 65 expected to be on America's roads by 2030, the concern around senior driving is picking up speed. But Keller is a part of a large group of elderly drivers who are driving more safely than their younger counterparts, according to a recent AAA report.
More than 30 million drivers are aged 65 or older in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the number is expected to grow to 40 million by 2020. Although drivers in their 60s have the same car crash rate as drivers in their 30s, drivers in their mid-to-late 80s have a car crash rate sharply lower than teens and 20-somethings. Check out the video above for more.
The number of fatal senior driving accidents has declined more than 40 pecent in the last three decades, according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, and technology to prevent senior car accidents is growing. Keller’s car, for instance, contains a “push to start ignition button,” which helps him drive safely, NBC noted. AAA recommends a number of safety features for elderly drivers, including a grip steering wheel for drivers with arthritis, controls that easily raise and lower the seat, big dashboard buttons, and a back-up camera.
Still, only nine out of 10 seniors driving are in cars that fit their aging needs, according to AAA, suggesting that there is room for senior driver safety to increase. The slideshow below lists 10 technologies that aid aging drivers, based on research from The Hartford And MIT AgeLab.
Smart headlights allow drivers to adjust the range and strength of their headlights, reduce glare, and help drivers see well at night, according to the Harford and MIT AgeLab.
Emergency Response Systems
An emergency response system inside a car allows medical personnel to get to collision scenes quickly, according to research from the Hartford and MIT AgeLab.
Cars with reverse monitoring allows drivers to judge distances accurately, warns them of surrounding objects and helps them back up safely, the Hartford and MIT AgeLab found.
Blind Spot Warning Systems
A blind spot warning system alerts drivers to objects and vehicles in their blind spots, aiding with lane changes and parking, the Hartford and MIT AgeLab found.
Lane Departure Warning
Cars that feature a lane departure warning can keep track of a drivers place in their lane and warns them if they are drifting outside of their lane, according to research from the Hartford and MIT AgeLab.
Vehicle Stability Control
Vehicle stability control features help cars stay stable when driving around tough angles or in dangerous weather, which could prove critical for senior drivers, according to the Hartford and MIT AgeLab.
Assistive Parking Systems
The assistive parking system informs drivers of their distance to surrounding cars, making parking both safer and easier for senior drivers, research from the Hartford and AgeLab found.
A voice-activated system allows drivers to access car features by voice, so that senior drivers do not have to move their hands or take their eyes off the road, according to the Hartford and MIT AgeLab.
Crash Mitigation Systems
A crash mitigation system uses safety features to reduce driver injuries when a vehicle is involved in a collision or other dangerous situations, the Hartford and MIT AgeLab found.
Drowsy Driver Alerts
Drowsy driver alerts inform drivers of when they are being inattentive, to reduce risk of falling asleep at the wheel, the Hartford and MIT AgeLab found.