Cumberland Times-News

May 5, 2013

They’re better

AAA says older drivers more likely to be safe drivers

Cumberland Times-News

— Watching as a younger driver talking on a cell phone changed lanes to cut in front of a Cumberland Fire Department ambulance that had its siren and wig-wag lights in operation helped reinforce in our minds the results of a study recently performed by AAA:

Contrary to what may be popular opinion, older drivers are more likely to engage in safe driving habits than younger drivers.

AAA said nine of every 10 seniors buckle their seat belts when they get behind the wheel, and more than a third of them have actively participated in programs that would help improve their driving skills.

AAA didn’t say, but our observations lead us to believe seniors are not as apt to talk on cell phones while they’re driving — which is a moving violation in Maryland and surrounding states.

“Even when they’re driving every day, seniors do not pose a disproportionate threat on the roads,” said Ragina Averella, manager of public and government affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “In fact, drivers in their mid-to-late 80s have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s and roughly half the crash rate of teenagers.”

It’s also likely that they tend to be more courteous drivers than some younger folks ... and have learned through experience that emergency vehicles have sirens and wig-wags for a reason.

AAA provides expert advice and helpful resources on the website,, for both older adults and their families.